The Importance of Farmers’ Markets for the Local Economy

Photo: Dean Chatterson
Photo credit: Dean Chatterson

Market days are action-packed and bring a slew of activities to a city center. The sound of live music, the chattering of people, and the delicious aromas of food fill the streets as people peruse the different stands while socializing with friends. A Farmers’ Market is indeed the one-stop place to find fresh, local food products, as well as artisanal crafts, all while building a sense of community. This unique set-up connects local consumers with local producers. By supporting these vendors, we as consumers contribute to the local economy in a variety of ways:

Direct support to farmers 
Attending a farmers’ market is a great way to directly support local farmers, as they receive 100% of the retail price on the goods they sell at a market1. This helps them continue to produce food and take care of the land on which they farm.

“Having buyers passionate about buying local food means that we can focus on growing better produce rather than scrambling to sell our goods through middlemen where demands can be unrealistic for small producers”, explain Michael Albert and Marie-Eve Fradette of Apple Quill Farm. “Our small size allows us to focus on quality and variety of goods that can be a challenge to find in a traditional store.” 

Money made by local farm, food, and artisanal craft businesses is then circulated in the community, creating a ripple effect. For instance, this money will be spent at other businesses in order to purchase supplies such as seeds, feed, or ingredients2. Furthermore, when a dollar is spent locally, a “multiplier effect” occurs, meaning that the more and the faster the dollar circulates, the more wealth, income, and jobs it creates3. This, in turn, leads to more vibrant and sustainable communities.

Photo credit: Dean Chatterson

Support for neighbouring businesses
Market vendors are not the only local businesses who benefit from the Farmers’ Market. Indeed, surveys conducted at BC farmers’ markets found that neighbouring businesses noticed positive correlations between market days and sale increases2. People often come to a certain part of town solely for the purpose of attending the market. Once there, they are more likely to visit other businesses nearby, therefore increasing traffic, and often sales. 

Moreover, the market supports small businesses and helps them grow. Alannah Leach, Kimberley Farmers’ Market Coordinator, points out that many local establishments started out as market stalls. Kimberley businesses like Moody Bee, Bohemian Spirits, Little Big, Bread & Butter, and Tumbled Earth all had their beginnings at the Farmers’ Market. 

Increased food security
Investing in local food producers increases food security in a region4. The more food that is produced in a community, the more prepared it will be in the event of disruptions of long-distance food supply. By supporting these local farmers, we support local agriculture, which consequently increases food production, and, therefore, food security. 

Additionally, the BC Farmers’ Markets Nutrition Coupon Program supports both food security and farmers by providing nutrition coupons to low-income families, pregnant people, and seniors who participate in food literacy programs5. Coupons can be used at Farmers’ Markets to purchase vegetables, fruits, nuts, eggs, dairy, herbs, vegetable and fruit plants, honey, meat and fish. Thanks to this program, over 10,000 households in BC have access to fresh, nutritious food.

Photo credit: Dean Chatterson

How to support your local market
“To support a vendor at a Farmers Market is to support someone’s dream. They don’t just show up for fun, they put in countless hours behind the scenes and are truly passionate about what they do. Don’t believe me? Try asking a vendor about their process and you’ll instantly see the passion shine through.”

– Alannah Leach, Kimberley Farmers’ Market Coordinator

If you are not yet familiar with the farmers’ markets near you, what better time than the present to visit them? This is a great opportunity to socialize, support local businesses, and eat great food. 

Kimberley Farmers’ Market: Thursdays from 5-7:30 pm on Howard Street 

Cranbrook Farmers’ Market: Saturdays from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm on 10th Ave South 


  1. BC Farmers’ Markets – Why BC Farmers’ Markets
  2. BC Farmers’ Markets – Economic and Social Benefits Assessment
  3. Sustain Ontario – The Multiplier Effect of Buying Local Food
  4. CRC Research – Farmers’ Markets and Local Food Systems
  5. BC Farmers’ Markets – BC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Coupon Program