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Farmers Markets

Farmers markets are organized, scheduled, recurring gatherings where producers can sell their food products directly to consumers. Markets can be temporary or permanent structures and on public or private property. Farmers markets are similar to the Community Supported Agriculture model in that they create a direct transaction between farmers and consumers, but farmers markets require less initial investments in time from producers. For rural communities with limited grocery options, farmers markets increase access to fresh, local food.

Participating farmers markets accept SNAP (formerly food stamps) and WIC benefits. Markets must have the proper transaction equipment to process Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards and must apply for eligibility with the USDA. Some states offer matching programs that double the benefits from SNAP or WIC that can go toward fresh fruits and vegetables. These programs help low-income families access more fresh produce directly from farmers.

Farmers markets require:

  • Excellent planning and organization skills
  • Communication with local businesses
  • Funding for marketing
  • Solid relationships between producers and consumers
  • Knowledge and adherence to local policies regarding operation
  • Awareness of transportation, location, weather, and other barriers

Resources to Learn More

Farmers Markets as a Strategy to Improve Access to Healthy Food for Low-Income Families and Communities
Document
Research study about which farmers market characteristics appeal to low-income and minority shoppers.
Organization(s): Project for Public Spaces, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Columbia University
Date: 2/2013

Farmers Markets in the U.S.
Map/Mapping System
Map of active farmers markets in the U.S.
Organization(s): U.S. Department of Agriculture