Michigan Farmers Market Association to Study Economic Impact of Michigan Farmers Markets in 2016

March 17, 2016 | News

The Michigan Farmers Market Association received a $60,000 Rural Business Development Grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to conduct an economic impact study of Michigan farmers markets. Planning began in November of 2015 and the study will be conducted during the 2016 season. The goal of the project is to identify and recognize the economic contribution farmers markets make to Michigan’s rural communities.

“We know that farmers markets are important economic contributors to our Michigan communities. But how much? This study will allow community and economic developers to better understand how farmers markets contribute to the future economic vitality of Michigan,” explains USDA Rural Development Michigan State Director James Turner.

MIFMA will provide training and technical assistance to measure the impact of seven farmers markets located in six rural communities. The farmers markets selected for the project are located in Boyne City, Marquette, Menominee, Munising, Port Huron and Traverse City. These six selected communities were identified because of their demonstrated capacity to create partnerships between their farmers market and other organizations as well as their commitment to recordkeeping and interest in data collection. The farmers markets in these communities also work directly with MIFMA through participation in the Hoophouses for Health program.

Downtown Marquette Farmers Market- Vendor Seeds and Spores.

Downtown Marquette Farmers Market- Vendor Seeds and Spores.

Hoophouses for Health is a program designed to increase access to healthy, fresh, local food for vulnerable families while at the same time expanding the season extension capacity of Michigan farmers. Through the program, participating farmers receive a loan to build a hoophouse on their farm. Farmers pay back their loans by accepting vouchers that MIFMA distributes to vulnerable families in their communities or by providing produce to qualifying schools. “We’re excited to expand our work with our Hoophouses for Health partners to look at this important issue,” says Hoophouses for Health Program Manager Tyler Vuillemot.

MIFMA staff who will lead the project are Dru Montri, Executive Director, and Tyler Vuillemot, Hoophouses for Health Program Manager. An advisory committee of members with experience in food systems and economics are also assisting with the project. Results will be promoted locally and at the state level upon its conclusion. For more information on MIFMA and Hoophouses for Health, visit www.mifma.org and www.hoophousesforhealth.org.