Developing Viable Farmers Markets in Rural Communities: An Investigation of Vendor Performance using Objective and Subjective Valuations

Consumer and public policy interests in local food systems have increased sharply in recent years. Utilizing a unique data set from a six-county region in Northern New York, an empirical model of vendor performance satisfaction is developed as a function of market, vendor, and customer characteristics. Higher levels of performance were associated with vendors selling in a limited number of larger markets, with more amenities, and a variety of production-based vendors; thus, providing supporting evidence for planners in developing regional or multicommunity markets. Changes in market policies or incentives for higher value-added and processed food and non-food vendors should also be considered to enhance performance relative to more traditional vendors. The impacts of consumer income and population density factors suggest that markets in more economically challenged or disparate areas may be at an operational disadvantage, and indicative of a need for additional community or public support mechanisms to make these markets viable, particularly in rural areas with a stronger dependence on agricultural production for economic development. However, vendor due-diligence in analyzing and selecting markets based on important market and customer characteristics remains a necessary ingredient for improved performance and long-run viability.

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 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2018-01-22

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