Making Markets Mainstream
Despite the ubiquity and convenience of supermarkets and large retailers, direct-to-consumer sales are growing in popularity–primarily in the form of farmers markets. Direct markets benefit both consumers and producers by allowing them to connect and exchange information about production practices and consumer concerns. “The opportunity to sell direct to customers offers not only a fair price for their products, but also a chance to develop personal relationships with their customer base, many of whom will return week on week.” However, these benefits don’t reach everyone; farmer’s markets face key challenges that hinder broad-scale development of local food systems.
The key challenges to farmers markets are regular accessibility (some markets operate only monthly or seasonally), greater prevalence (more markets means more access for consumers), the myth of high prices (while there are some upscale markets, many are surprisingly affordable), and having a limited range of goods for sale. As we attempt to develop and bolster local food systems in the context of one-stop-shop customers who are used to easy parking and 24/7 availability, making local markets mainstream will require addressing all of these concerns.
Think about ways to bring fresh markets into your neighborhood.