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Abstract

Market access is an important factor for the success of small farmers. In Alabama rural counties, farmers are in search of alternative market outlets to broaden their sales and make a profit. The purpose of this research was to assess marketing alternatives for small farmers in selected Alabama Black Belt Counties because local markets are essential to the economy and the overall well-being of local communities. Ethnographic field research was used to collect data by interviewing participants in selected rural counties, as well as from the Alabama Farmers Market Authority and USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service. The findings indicate that farmers markets were the most popular of the direct markets in these rural counties. Participants believed that produce at farmers markets was fresh and of high quality. Government programs and resources should be used to promote direct markets, especially farmers markets, in rural minority communities in the South.

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