This paper provides insights of the Italian farmers' markets (FMs) experience. These short food chains can be conceptualized among the so-called "alternative agro-food networks", which reject the traditional food chains features - productivity, products standardization and industrial organization - to focus on other issues such as quality, local production and "naturality" of agro-food production. The main objective of the paper is to evaluate the sustainability of FMs, through the analysis of the demand and the supply side. The analysis is based on a survey administered in 13 Italian FMs, involving 158 farmers and 458 consumers. Data are used to evaluate consumers' demand for sustainability within FMs and sustainability indicators at the farm level. These indicators support a classification of the farms, aimed at analysing their motivation to participate in the markets and the extent to which they are able to meet consumers' demand. Results show that FMs might be able to favour the spreading of a more sustainable economy. However, farms should improve their business strategies in order to meet consumers' demand for sustainability. In this respect, agricultural policies at the European and local level can play a role, in order to enhance sustainable practices within the farms.