Scaling Up Farmers Markets Access with Wireless Technology
At farmers markets in Boston, MA, both vendors and shoppers are enjoying the fruits of wireless technology. Direct markets typically have limited appeal due to their cash only business model; today, small-scale vendors can tremendously increase their sales by implementing easy-to-use card systems, such as Square, to process electronic payments. For example, using card systems can allow vendors to process SNAP/EBT cards, widening the scope of healthy food access to include low-income families. Nationally, farmers market sales through EBT jumped from $5,000 in 2007 to $220,000 in 2012.
Another smart use of technology at farmers markets by vendors is providing QR codes to consumers to scan products for more information. For example, “Red’s Best, a Boston seafood company, uses software and mobile apps so customers can learn the source of the fish they buy.” Scanning their QR code on a smartphone takes you to a page with information on the origins of the fish, the name of the fisherman, and the method used to make the catch.
Sounds like something you want at your market? Talk to your market managers and vendors about scaling up through technology!