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Denison University

Publication Date

Spring 2011

Program Name

Australia: Sustainability and Environmental Action

Abstract

Farmers’ markets are growing across the world at an exponential rate. However, there is little research that challenges the competitiveness of these farmers’ markets in competing with other food distribution locations, including supermarkets and local food stores. The following report focuses on using the principles of perfect competition to evaluate the competitiveness of the Byron Farmers’ Market with other local food sources in Byron Bay, NSW.

Data was collected through 120 consumer surveys (60 from the Farmers’ Market, 30 from Woolworths, and 30 from local food stores: Santos, Fundamentals, and Green Garage), 31 stallholder surveys from the Farmers’ Market, price information on 17 products at stores in the area, and 4 interviews with individuals from food distribution locations. The data was then analyzed, with results looking into a variety of topics, including the important factors that influence consumers in their purchasing decisions, how consumers view products from different stores, and the perceptions of competitiveness in the market by local food sources. The main conclusion from the data is that while the Farmers’ Market is a vital part of the local food system, the Farmers’ Market faces a variety of barriers that it needs to overcome in order to become more directly competitive with the other food distribution locations.

Through increased consumer education and eliminating some of the common barriers that prevent producers and consumers from getting involved in the farmers’ market, the market can continue to grow and become more competitive with the larger food stores in Byron. In addition, the research finds that competitiveness in the marketplace may not be the best quantifier of success for a farmers’ market. However, measuring the competitiveness of the market and analyzing the benefits and barriers of such a market, produces vital information that can assist other farmers’ markets as they continue to grow and evaluate their role in the community.

Disciplines

Agriculture | Civic and Community Engagement | Other Economics | Sustainability

 

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