About 41 percent of shoppers surveyed at neighborhood farmers markets said they attend markets to support the local economy -
Portland, Ore., November 2, 2012 – Twenty years ago, a political strategist proclaimed one of the key issues of the 1992 presidential campaign was, “It’s the economy, stupid!” Here in Portland two decades later, 41 percent of Portland Farmers Market shoppers recently surveyed claimed the primary reason they shop at farmers markets is to support the local economy. In other words, “It’s the local economy, stupid!”
A dollar spent at a farmers market does help bolster the local economy. According to a recent article about farmers markets in Reader’s Digest, for every $100 spent at a farmers’ market, $62 goes back into the local economy, and $99 out of $100 spent stays in the state.
Portland Farmers Market, a local nonprofit, which operates eight weekly farmers markets in the Portland area year round, recently conducted shopper surveys at its four neighborhood markets. One key finding: The primary reason shoppers are attending markets is to “support the local economy” (41%), with “variety/quality/diversity” trailing at 21% and “know your food” at 18%. This breakdown was fairly similar for the responses from Oregon Trail cardholders who receive SNAP benefits. However, a greater percentage of Oregon Trail shoppers indicated “know your food” (26%) as the reason why they shop.
“The insights of our current shoppers shows how committed our community is to supporting our local hard-working farmers, ranchers and food artisans,” said Trudy Toliver, executive director of the Portland Farmers Market. “Though their reasons for coming may vary, we’re glad to see Portlanders showing up to shop at their favorite markets week after week.”
Portland Farmers Market staff conducted the surveys by asking shoppers to use dot stickers to indicate answers to questions on large boards, as well by distributing paper surveys. Surveys were conducted from June 17 to 22 and from August 19 to 24 at all four Portland Farmers Market neighborhood locations: Buckman, King, Northwest, and Kenton. Market staff members estimate that they received about 850 total individual responses during the two weeks of surveying at these venues.
The survey also included the responses from market shoppers who participate in the Fresh Exchange program. Fresh Exchange offers residents receiving SNAP benefits a dollar-for-dollar match for up to $7 per week through their Oregon Trail card.
Survey response highlights also included:
- Most shoppers are between the ages of 25 and 40 (47%); more than half (56%) are 40 or younger, but the 56 to 70 range is a fairly sizable (19%).
- Oregon Trail shoppers tend to be younger, with 72% being 40 or younger; however, the 56 to 70 range for this group was two percentage points higher than those 25 or younger. Portland Farmers Market did not receive any Oregon Trail paper responses from anyone 71+.
- Most participants were shopping for themselves and one other person (37%), but many were just shopping for themselves (28%).
- These percentages are more than reversed for Oregon Trail shoppers. About half (47%) are only shopping for themselves and almost the rest (38%) are shopping for two people.
- Half of shoppers claim “hours/convenience” as a major deterrent for attending a market (51%). A quarter of them blame product selection (25%). Parking and transportation do not seem to be much of an issue at these four markets.
- This breakdown is almost identical for Oregon Trail shoppers.
- A third of participants are shopping elsewhere for fresh food at regional/local grocery chains, including co-ops. Other major sources (about a quarter each) are national grocery chains (22%), gardening/growing one’s own food (20%), and other farmers markets (20%). Very few participants are part of a CSA.
- About 4% more Oregon Trail shoppers than total shoppers indicated they grow their own food.
The full survey results are available for by clicking the following links:
About Portland Farmers Market
Founded in 1992, Portland Farmers Market operates world-class farmers markets that contribute to the success of local food growers and producers, and create vibrant community gatherings. The independently run local 501(c)6 nonprofit which receives no ongoing support from government agencies employs five full-time and four part-time employees who manage eight weekly farmers markets in the Portland area year round. More than 650,000 shoppers purchased farm-fresh produce, meats, cheeses, seafood, baked goods and other specialty foods from more than 190 vendors generating over $8 million in sales in 2011. In addition to operating markets, Portland Farmers Market also serves as an incubator for emerging businesses, a leader of the local food movement, a source of education, a culinary focal point in the community, a cultural destination complete with musical entertainment, and a billboard for Portland’s sustainability movement. To learn more about how Portland Farmers Market aims to grow, nourish and inspire the community, become a Twitter follower, Facebook fan, blog reader and visit www.portlandfarmersmarket.org.