A provincewide study of B.C. farmers markets suggests one in Salmon Arm is responsible for injecting millions of dollars annually into the local economy.
The Downtown Salmon Arm Farmers Market is participating in a study of the economic benefits of farmers markets, being conducted by the University of Northern BC (UNBC) for the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets.
According to preliminary findings, roughly 68,000 people visit Downtown Salmon Arm Farmers Market annually. On the day of the study, June 17, 2023, about 2,970 people visited the market. More than 223 of those visitors participated in a survey that found more than half of shoppers visiting the market do so “regularly” (almost weekly), or “frequently” (2-3 times per month).
From local findings and other factors, the study offers an assessment of the “spillover effect” the downtown farmers market has on neighbouring businesses.
“Based on survey results, we can estimate the impact of market customers spending additional dollars at local businesses on the day of the market. Using the same formula as above, the annual economic impact of additional spending at other neighbouring businesses is over $3.2 million,” reads a preliminary report on the study.
“If this estimation is evenly remotely close, then the significance of shopping and supporting local cannot be overstated, especially in today’s economy,” commented Downtown Salmon Arm Manager Jennifer Broadwell, who noted the “connections made between our local growers and community members is proving to be a treasured resource, championed by the advocacy of the Shuswap Food Action Society.”
Downtown Salmon Arm Farmers Market manager Jennifer Chernecki said the results of the study will help communicate to others how valuable the farmers market is to the community.
UNBC professor Dr. David Connell is leading the project. He said it builds upon the results of a similar study done in 2006 and in 2012.
“At the end of this project, we will be able to compare our results with these past studies to see how much has changed,” said Connell.
This is the fifth season for the Downtown Salmon Arm Farmers Market, held Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. (during the summer) at the Ross Street Plaza.
“Emphasizing the importance of community and food security, this market operates rain or shine and features eight vegetable and produce vendors, with the capacity for up to 50 vendors,” reads a media release on the market from the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets.
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