Consumer Demand for Local Products
An Insatiable Appetite for Edible Marin?
The buzz about buying local is becoming more than just talk; interest in and demand for opportunities to buy locally produced food is definitely on the rise. The proliferation of farmer’s markets, increasing requests made to grocers for local products, and growing interest among restaurants in having farmers’ names on their menus are all symptoms of this increasing trend.
What Marin retailers have to say about the rise in consumer demand for local products...
“We hear from our customers all the time that they want local products. Over the last couple of years that demand has continued to grow as customers realize that organic doesn’t always mean local and that many organics’ are coming from all over the world. The variety of local produce we sell is increasing each year, because our customers believe in supporting local producers. We try to get more and more locally grown and made products into our store all the time, it’s important to me and a priority of our owner Bill Daniels.”
~ Ed Gilardi, United Markets
“There has been a rapid increase in the number and density or farmers’ markets in the Bay Area, as well as the nation. While more markets are certainly an indication of a greater demand for local products, there is a balance to strike between the demand for new markets and not over saturating the market place to the detriment of farmers. Locating viable markets which support farmers is a critical consideration. Although the number of farmers’ markets has grown in California, the number of farmers has not. At the same time, Marin eaters are hungry for products grown in the Bay Area region. Farmers’ market customers are interested in being able to buy local, fresh, and affordable foods. There is a whole range of fruits and vegetables that are not yet being grown in Marin that could be sold in an eager market place; the opportunity is there.”
~ Leah Smith, Agricultural Institute of Marin
“I see people who come every Thursday and Sunday to the Marin Civic Center farmers market and buy everything that they can for their family’s week of meals. We have a very dedicated consumer base; people notice if one of their farmers is missing and ask where they are. At the same time, every market we meet people at the information booth who are new to the market or new to farmers markets in general. Of the nearly 250,000 people in Marin County, we estimate that only 5 percent consistently shop at a farmers market. Interest in local is definitely on the rise, but people still need to know more about why it’s important to buy locally grown food and the impacts that decision has on so many levels – environmental, political, social, personal. To bridge this gap our organization is stepping up education efforts in communities, doing outreach to schools, kids, and parents.”
~ Adriana Broullon, Agricultural Institute of Marin
“There is a huge interest and demand in local organic products - much bigger than the supply. Especially when it comes to row crops, and value-added products. With farmers markets being held every day throughout Marin and the growing number of restaurant, natural food stores, and many other institutions that now offer local organic food, the opportunities to sell are growing rapidly, literally every day.”
~ Kerry McGrath, Marin Organic Member Support Manager
For a Further Look at Farmers Markets
Learn more about the Farmers Market Coalition’s definition of a farmers market and why having specific qualifications is important for insuring they remain places where “produce is sold by genuine farmers directly to the consumer.”
Find out what Brigitte Moran, executive director of Agricultural Institute of Marin, has to say about our local farmers markets.