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Diversifying Farmers Markets: New Opportunities for Farmers, Communities and Consumers

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Building upon prior research on diversity in public markets and with continued support from Ford and Kellogg, in 2005 Project for Public Spaces developed a national funding program for public markets in low- and moderate-income communities. The goal of the three-year, $3-million grant program was to strategically support markets, market networks and state market associations in broadening their social and economic impacts in their communities, while simultaneously improving their internal economic sustainability.

As this report on the program reveals, the efforts of the forty markets in 22 states that received funding demonstrated that through small amounts of funding, markets can boost the sustainability of vendors and management, resulting in increased market sales and higher market operating revenue. These gains were also a result of strategic efforts to enhance the spin-off benefits and the market’s “sense of place” in the community. Markets diversified their vendor and customer base, supported youth development projects, provided increased access to healthy food, and served as transformational places for their communities to gather.

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