Showing the Value of Our Local Farmers’ Markets

We hate to see it go, but summer is quickly drawing to a close. While many people are busy wrapping up summer vacation plans and preparing for fall, we’re busy wrapping up another phase in a special pilot project here at Demonstrating Value: the Farmers’ Market Impact Toolkit.

For the past three months, MBA candidate Annie Lambla has been working with Demonstrating Value to build a toolkit that will specifically address the performance management needs of farmers’ markets. The project is a collaboration between Demonstrating Value, Vancity Community Foundation and the B.C. Association of Farmers’ Markets; Annie’s internship was funded in part by the ISIS Research Centre at the Sauder School of Business at UBC.

Once completed, this toolkit will provide a consistent, province-wide framework by which market managers can measure their social, environmental and economic impact. It will also enable them to make informed management decisions to meet the growing demand for local food products and engage the farmers and producers in the local food economy. 

Where are we now in the Farmers’ Market pilot project?

For the 11 market societies and nearly 20 markets participating in the pilot project, completed surveys are now being collected. Work on building performance snapshots is about to begin and will continue through the winter. Once completed, many of these snapshots will be shared in our online snapshot gallery

What is the Farmers' Market Impact Toolkit?

The toolkit is a series of four surveys for market management, customers, vendors and external stakeholders. These surveys are designed to describe how farmers’ markets impact three major outcomes: food security and sustainable agriculture practices, community building and local economic impact. 

Once markets receive feedback from the surveys, the resulting data is used to create a performance snapshot. Just like our other performance snapshots, these snapshots are both an internal management tool for use in planning and policy decisions, and a communication tool for interaction with external stakeholders.

The toolkit is designed to adapt to different market capacities, giving market managers the guidance to get truly useful information. While there are several “need-to-know” questions that must be answered in the surveys, market managers can adjust the questions to speak to the individual needs of their market. This flexibility is something Demonstrating Value offers throughout all of its tools and resources.

Check back next week for more of Annie's photos from her experiences at the markets!

blog type: 
Issues & Ideas
local food