August 9, 2022 | Main Spotlight: How Farmers Markets Can Activate Main Streets | By: Marta Olmos, Communications Coordinator at Main Street America
Collage of fresh produce and a vendor booth from Market on Main. Photos courtesy of Stuart Main Street.
August 7-13, 2022 is National Farmers Market Week!
From farm-fresh veggies to artisanal delicacies, in communities of all sizes, farmers markets are beloved across the country. Many Main Street programs host farmers markets in their districts to bring in revenue, connect with local businesses, reduce food deserts, and increase foot traffic. We spoke to Main Street directors about their farmers markets to understand the myriad of ways that their markets connect with the Four Points and transform their Main Streets.
Farmers markets offer significant promotional opportunities. Whether you want to highlight the unique products sold in your area, spotlight local business owners, or introduce people to your district, farmers markets are a great way to get the word out and bring people downtown.
In addition to promoting the downtown district and local businesses, markets are also a great way for organizations to introduce new audiences to their work and the Main Street Movement through personal interactions, media coverage, and accolades. Winnsboro Main Street’s market has received national recognition. “Our Farmers Market here in the 3,300-population town of Winnsboro Texas was ranked 2nd in the state of Texas and 2nd in whole Southwest region in the American Farmland Trust’s 13th Annual America’s Farmers Market Celebration last year,” said Main Street Program Manager Brenda Buck.
Havana Main Street
in Florida partnered with local business owner Jennifer Folsom to revive their struggling market. She transformed their program into the Havana Market, which specializes in offering agricultural products and craft goods. Through outreach to local vendors, they identified and secured a better location for the market and have successfully grown it into a thriving program.
Scenes from Steamboat Farmers Market. Photos courtesy of Main Street Steamboat Springs.
So, You’re Interested in Starting a Farmers Market. Now What?
“Farmers Markets are businesses, but they are also community builders,” said Lisa Popovich. She is deeply passionate about her market, and her inbox is open to any Main Streeters who have questions about how to begin their own market. You can contact her at Lisa@Mainstreetsteamboat.com
“Look at current resources, future potential, create a plan direction and stick with it,” advises Brenda Buck, Main Street Program Manager at Winnsboro Main Street. “It’s sometimes tempting to migrate to something else that might be more popular at the time, or seemingly more attractive, but every ‘veer off the path’ erodes at the quality of the goal and the trust of the consumer.”
Downtown Racine Corporation has just started their farmers market journey, but they are already enthusiastic about it. “Do it!” urges Executive Director Kelly Kruse. “Such an amazing draw to the downtown to help stimulate the economy and truly pumps a lot of revenue to small businesses, as well as creates community pride.”#Blogs#MainSpotlight#UrbanMain#TheMainStreetApproach#InfrastructureandPublicSpacePlanning#PeopleManagementandWorkPlanning#FundraisingandBuildingPartnerships#Marketing,Communications,andEvents#NewsandStories