ECONOMIC IMPACT OF FARMERS’ MARKETS IN A METROPOLITAN AREA
- Madhosingh-Hector, UF/IFAS Extension Pinellas County, Largo, FL and H. Landis, UF/IFAS Extension Pinellas County, Largo, FL.
Situation: Farmers’ markets are often valued in an urban area for the increased access to fresh produce or community building opportunities that they provide. However, they also make significant economic contributions to an area that can be overlooked. In order to fully understand the value of farmers’ markets and promote informed planning decisions, it is important to quantify the benefits of farmers’ markets to both the vendors and the surrounding community. Methods: Two economic impact studies were conducted for the St. Petersburg Saturday Morning Market, located in downtown St. Petersburg. The Sticky Economic Evaluation Device, developed by Loyola University and marketumbrella.com, was utilized to generate results and ensure comparability. The agent collaborated with the market manager and organized volunteers to conduct market attendance counts and administer surveys about their spending habits. Results: The combined data showed an estimated annual economic impact of over $34 million for the market with approximately 293,000 visitors per year. This included over $460 thousand in estimated annual sales tax revenue and over $200,000 in gross receipts per market day generated for nearby businesses. Conclusion: Farmers’ markets are important economic drivers in urban areas. Additional information on the economic impacts of farmers’ markets should be collected and disseminated so that the general public and community decision makers can implement long term policies to support these markets.
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