Growing Local Food Companies
Weekly from May to October, Artisan Farmers’ Markets provides a selling opportunity for over 200 local small business owners including farmers, food producers and crafters. Some businesses will have over 10 years’ experience, while other businesses are just getting started in their first year. Businesses choose to sell weekly, monthly, or maybe only once a year. This project will focus on this summer’s brand new vendors.
Using conversational interviews with new vendors, students will document what makes for a successful farmers’ market for new entrants. Of the three farmers’ markets run by Artisan Farmers’ Markets, more vendors choose Burnaby. The reasons why Burnaby is often a first choice for new vendors will be well-understood by students in order for them to make suggestions for growing other markets.
The goal of the project is to isolate and rank why farmers, food processors, and crafters start selling and stay at the Burnaby Market vs. Lonsdale and vs. Ambleside. Having this information from vendors will inform the Artisan Farmers’ Markets on how to best attract new 2019 vendors and retain more vendors from 2018.
A wider outcome will be achieved by having the student report highlight "make or break" situations that lead a food vendor to decide "this market is not worth my while" after a season or even after only a couple of markets.
Skills Preferred + To Be Developed
- Strong verbal and written communication skills
- MS Word and MS Excel/Google Sheets proficiency, including Tables & Charts
- Eagerness to learn more about local economic, community and environmental impact of farmers’ markets – especially relating to farmers and small food processors.
Preferred Days of Week and Hours
- Much of the project will be self-scheduled.
- Conversations with farmers and other vendors will need to take place on market days. On-site discussions, flexible with the students’ schedules, can occur through to the end of October on Saturdays, between 8:30AM and 2:30PM.
- Students can also choose to arrange individual farm and vendor visits, and visit other farmers’ markets most convenient for them.
- Students are requested to be familiar with the businesses selling at farmers’ markets by the first community partner meeting in order to understand which vendors they prefer to interview. Vendor profiles are at artisanmarkets.ca/vendor-profiles, and students are encouraged to visit any local farmers’ market prior to the first meeting.
- Students will then spend one full day volunteering at a market, ideally Saturday Sep 22, to meet the market managers, vendors and talk about a day-in-the-life of a new farmer or small food producer.
Related Community Service Opportunities for Students
Over 50 community non-profit and charity organizations connect with the public at Artisan Farmers’ Markets during our summer season. Students will have the opportunity to speak with, meet and network with these community partners.
Students must be comfortable working outdoors in all weather conditions and capable of moderate physical activity.
Mission + Vision
Vision: To celebrate BC farmers, food and handmade items in vibrant, welcoming, community-connected markets. Mission: To connect consumers with local farmers, small food producers and artisanal makers in order to support the community’s financial, social and environmental objectives.
Guiding Principles + Values
- To support local farmers and small business people who grow, make or bake their product in BC by creating strong sales channels
- To expand the variety and quality of local produce and products for consumers, especially small scale agricultural and specialty farm products
- To educate the buying public on how their food and other essential products are produced and used, including locally grown options, nutrition awareness, seasonal eating and the historical roots of farming in our community
- Contact Person(s): Tara Immell and Mhora Ogmundson
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
- Address: Burnaby, Lonsdale Quay, or Ambleside Farmers’ Markets
- Phone: 604-357-4796
- Website: www.artisanmarkets.ca
- Best time(s) method(s) to contact: anytime via email
- Students will learn about what is important to new farmers, food processors, and other small business owners when choosing how to start their business and where is best to sell their products.
- Students will develop interviewing and data analysis skills.
- Students will come to appreciate how uncertain, and also rewarding, new business ownership can be.
- Artisan Famers’ Market will document why brand new vendors choose and leave the Burnaby Farmers’ Market.
- Artisan Farmers’ Markets will develop joining and exit interview questions for new vendors.