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Farmers Market Report cover - February 2010

Requested by the King County Council, the Farmers Market Report identifies many of the challenges facing farmers markets that impact their financial viability and future success and identifies some of the solutions that would help strengthen their operations and facilitate farmer access to the markets.

King County has an impressive network of farmers markets that supports hundreds of small family farming businesses around the state. Even though the markets are well-loved community assets, there is concern from both market managers and farmers about the future.

The report notes the important economic development role farmers markets play as incubators for small businesses, a catalyst for strengthening neighborhood business districts and helping bring more money into the state's rural communities. In addition, the report recognizes the important role markets have in the economic success of family farms.

Key findings of the report:

  • There are significant differences among farmers markets in the county which impact a market's ability to attract the best combination of shoppers and vendors.
  • All of the markets in King County, regardless of size, depend on some form of public and/or community financial support.
  • Programs and efforts to support farmers markets must be matched with support for family farms in order for both to be successful. It will take resources from a broad network of organizations, local jurisdictions and community supporters.

Addressing these findings is essential to the future of farming in western Washington. We hope this report is helpful in stimulating discussions to figure out how to garner the support necessary to support farmers markets and farmers

The Farmers Market Report is offered in Adobe Acrobat format. For help using Acrobat, please visit our Acrobat help page.

Download document here:

Supplemental materials:

There is a growing network of organizations supporting farmers markets and farmers that direct market their products. Below are documents that outline of the issues markets face in more detail, identify partner organizations, reference work in other cities, and more.

For questions about the Farmers Market Report, please contact Steve Evans, Project Program Manager.

Thank you!

This report was made possible because of the time and efforts from:

  • All 39 King County farmers market managers, their market assistants and board members
  • Over 45 farmers
  • Elected officials and staff from Auburn, Bellevue, Carnation and Seattle
  • Stakeholder organizations including Cascade Harvest Coalition, Washington State University Small Farms Program, Washington State Farmers Market Association, Public Health Seattle & King County, Within Reach, Washington State Department of Agriculture Small Farms Program