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UMN Prof: No More Farmers Markets!

Farmers say more markets means more work for less pay.

Just last week, Patch reported on in Linden Hills, and on the of its customers, the Pioneer Press is reporting that the Twin Cities might be reaching its limit for farmers markets. 

"There is a sort of diminishing return," said Rob King, a professor in the Department of Applied Economics at the University of Minnesota. "As (farmers) go to more and more markets, it takes a lot of time for them to do that. And as the number of markets grows—and if it grows faster than the number of —then we may see a new market cannibalize an existing market.

For the individual farmer, this looks like a life spent running from one event to the next, hoping they'll be able to sell enough to make ends meet.

That's just what David Brauer, president of the Kingfield and Fulton market board told Patch.

"You want to be sure the individual farmers aren't having to work harder than they do now to make money at any individual market," Brauer said. "That's the danger if demand doesn't rise and is instead split."

Still, markets aren't the only option. Some sellers have found ways to make ends meet, from Community-Supported Agriculture programs to deals with local restaurants. 

James Sanna (Editor) May 10, 2012 at 03:22 PM
So, how many of your friends do the farmers market thing, when available? You could spend all day cherry-picking statements from folks who do or don't think we're reaching saturation, but there's no—that I know of—hard survey of demand.

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