Fields, Food and the Future: How Farmers’ Markets impact our local and provincial economy
The market has done more for our local economy and community than what meets the eye. While the plentiful assortment of goods, services and produce offers something everyone can enjoy, the economic benefits are often overlooked. According to Farmers' Markets Ontario, sales within Ontario farmers' markets have increased 10 to 12 percent in the past decade, creating an economic impact of over $2.5 billion. Not only that, but the money from the markets directly benefits the farmers and vendors, who use it to grow crops, support their families, and purchase more from the local community. Farmers' Markets also create and sustain jobs! The Government of Ontario reported that in 2022, the Ontario agri-food sector supported over 861,000 jobs, that's over 20 times larger than the population of St Thomas!
While large chain grocery stores and companies have a wide variety of produce, the farmers behind the crop often don't see most of the earnings. At a farmers' market, the farmer is directly paid by the clients, receiving payment in full and setting their prices to accommodate their time and effort. Vendors can also build connections directly with their clients and other vendors around them, which can lead to partnerships and collaborations to help support each other's work. Vendors can, in turn, witness for themselves public reception to their products, helping them decide which are fan favourites, and should be further promoted and produced, becoming staples of the market, much like the Fritter Shops delicious treats, Debackere Farms' classic Sweet Corn, and the beautiful bouquets of Harris Flower Farm.
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