Farmers Markets Help Small Businesses
For the month of April, we will be on the road visiting local farmers markets and food festivals. Did you know that 25 percent of vendors at Texas farmers markets rely on it as their sole source of income? When Southern Roots Vegan Bakery first started, we took our products on the road at farmers markets and other food-related events to find new customers.
While digital marketing is the name of the game, farmers markets still provide that old time “town square” nostalgia where you can talk with customers, meet their kids and their furry friends. It’s a place where you can feel connected to the world, which is something that many of us miss from the COVID-19 quarantine and social distancing rules. According to the Texas Farmers Market, people who shop at farmers market have about 15 to 20 social interactions per visit compared to up to two visits to the grocery store.
Recently we learned that farmers markets are doing their part to be more equitable in communities of color. Earlier this year, the Farmers Market Coalition, announced it is supporting the creation of an anti-racist toolkit for farmers markets, led by Black food systems experts across the country. The Coalition said on its website that “the vision we have for markets goes beyond the feel-good shopping experience narrative. FMC also supports farmers markets as entities that can address racial injustices in the food system and affect system-wide change.”
The Coalition took the bold step of admitting that farmers markets have benefited from the systems and policies that have perpetuated racial inequity and injustice for communities of color. They are hoping to put this toolkit into action through workshops, webinars, conference presentations, communities of practice, and technical assistance to farmers market operators.
We give a Big Fist Bump to the Farmers Market Coalition for taking the steps to a more equitable and inclusive playing field for its members and vendors who take part in these markets. We also found some pre-pandemic statistics from the USDA to encourage you to shop at your local farmers market.
- Fruits and vegetables composed the most common food category sold at 99.6 percent of markets, followed by condiments and sauce at 94.1 percent.
- The percent of markets that had locally grown labeling totaled nearly 84.7 percent. Gluten free and grass-fed had 46.1 percent and 46.0 percent, respectively.
- Of the 4,076 markets that accepted Federal Nutrition Programs, 78.7 percent accepted Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
- Of the 4,352 vendors/producers who accepted Federal Nutrition Programs, 66.7 percent accepted Women, Infants and Children's (WIC) Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP), followed closely by Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) at 66.3 percent.
Make sure to stop by our table at the Bandera Farmers Market to get some tasty treats to take home with you. We will be there on April 10, 17 and 24 from 10 am - 5 pm and Sunday, April 18 from 11 am - 5 pm. You can also visit with us at the Vegan Stop Shop on April 11 at the Cherrity Bar in San Antonio from 12 pm to 3 pm.
And if all else fails and the drive to the Alamo City is a little too far … you can still place an order online.
Please share with your friends and family that once they try Southern Roots baked goods, they will think this is “so good, you won’t believe it’s vegan.” Follow us on social and tag us at @SouthernRootsBiz.