Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Consumer interactions and influences on farmers' market vendors

  • Alan R. Hunt (a1)

Consumers interact with each other and vendors on a social level at farmers' markets. Some consumer social interactions, such as enjoying the market, talking with farmers about seasonal products and making a trip to the market a family event, are significant and positive influences on spending at farmers' markets as identified through a survey of 216 shoppers at eight farmers' markets in Maine. Vendors at these markets were also surveyed, with 65 of the 81 vendors being farmers. Through direct farmer/consumer relations, farmers indicated a willingness to reduce chemical inputs to meet customer demands, suggesting that customer interaction has the potential to affect environmental quality. By examining the linkages between producers and consumers at a direct market—often embedded with a sense of local identity—there is the potential to better understand social interactions that can support the economic and environmental sustainability of local agriculture.

Corresponding author
*Corresponding author:
Hide All
1 Payne T. 2002. U.S. Farmers Markets—2000. A Study of Emerging Trends. US Department of Agriculture, Washington, DC.
2 Wann J.L., Cake E.L., Elliot W.H., and Burdete R.F. 1948. Farmers' Produce Markets in the United States. US Department of Agriculture, Washington, DC.
3 Pyle J. 1971. Farmers' markets in the United States: functional anachronisms. Geographic Review 61(2):167197.
4 Shakow D. 1981. The municipal farmer's market as an urban service. Economic Geography 57(1):6877.
5 Lyson T.A. and Green J. 1999. The agricultural marketscape: a framework for sustaining agriculture and communities in the northeast. Journal of Sustainable Agriculture 15(2/3):133150.
6 Warde A. 1997. Consumption, Food and Taste. SAGE Publications, Thousand Oaks, CA.
7 Savage M., Bagnall G., and Longhurst B. 2005. Globalization and Belonging. 1st ed. SAGE Publications, London.
8 Loomis J., Rameker V., and Seidl A. 2004. A hedonic model of public market transactions for open space protection. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management 47(1):8396.
9 King J.R. and Anderson C.M. 2004. Marginal tax effects of conservation easements: a Vermont case study. American Journal of Agricultural Economics 86(4):919932.
10 The Countryside Agency. 2004. Protected Areas Branding Forum 2004: making links between local products and landscapes. The Countryside Agency and Peak District National Park Authority, Losehill Hall, Derbyshire, UK.
11 The Countryside Agency. 2004. Eat the View. Available at Web site: (verified 29 September 2004).
12 Peak District National Park Authority. 2005. Welcome to the Environmental Quality Mark. Available at Web site: (verified 16 February 2005).
13 Wolf M.M. 1997. A target consumer profile and positioning for promotion of direct marketing of fresh produce: a case study. Journal of Food Distribution Research 28(3):1117.
14 Guptill A. and Wilkins J.L. 2001. Buying into the food system: trends in food retailing in the US and implications for local foods. Agriculture and Human Values 19:3951.
15 Sharp J.S. and Smith M.B. 2002. Social capital and farming at the rural–urban interface: the importance of nonfarmer and farmer relations. Agricultural Systems 76:913927.
16 Roth M. 1999. Overview of farm direct marketing industry trends. Agricultural Outlook Forum 1999:109114.
17 Shorto R. 2004. A short-order revolutionary. The New York Times Magazine January 11:1921.
18 Hinrichs C.C. 2000. Embeddedness and local food systems: notes on two types of direct agricultural market. Journal of Rural Studies 16:295303.
19 Gilman S. 1999. Direct marketing options: farmers markets, restaurants, community supported agriculture and the organic alternative. Agricultural Outlook Forum 1999:118121.
20 Kirby A. 2004. Soya boom threat to South America. Available at Web site: (verified 22 September 2004).
21 Daniels T. 1999. When City and Country Collide. Island Press, Washington, DC.
22 Kuches K., Toensmeyer U.C., German C.L., and Bacon J.R. 1999. An analysis of consumers' views and preferences regarding farmer to consumer direct markets in Delaware. Journal of Food Distribution Research 30(1):124133.
23 Govindasamy R., Italia J., Zurbriggen M., and Hoaain F. 2002. Predicting consumer willingness-to-purchase value-added products at direct agricultural markets. Journal of Food Products Marketing 8(1):115.
24 Lyson T.A., Gillespie G.W., and Hilchey D. 1995. Farmers markets and the local community: bridging the formal and informal economy. American Journal of Alternative Agriculture 10(3):108113.
25 Hughes M.E. and Mattson R.H. 1992. Farmers' markets in Kansas: a profile of vendors and market organization. Agricultural Experiment Station, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS.
26 Granovetter M. 1985. Economic action and social structure: the problem of embeddedness. American Journal of Sociology 91:481510.
27 Block F. 1990. Postindustrial Possibilities: A Critique of Economic Discourse. University of California, Berkeley, CA.
28 Jackson P. and Thrift N. 1995. Geographies of Consumption. In Miller D.(ed.). Acknowledging Consumption. Routledge, New York. p. 204237.
29 Munro R. 1996. The consumption view of self. In Edgell S., Hetherington K., and Warde A. (eds). Consumption Matters: The Production and Experience of Consumption. Blackwell/The Sociological Review, Oxford, U.K. p. 248273.
30 Warde A. 1996. Afterword: the future of the sociology of consumption. In Edgell S., Hetherington K., and Warde A. (eds). Consumption Matters: The Production and Experience of Consumption. Blackwell/The Sociological Review, Oxford, U.K. p. 302312.
31 Jarosz L. 2000. Understanding agri-food networks as social relations. Agriculture and Human Values 17:279283.
32 Feenstra G.W. 1997. Local food systems and sustainable communities. American Journal of Alternative Agriculture 12:2836.
33 Kezis A., Gwebu T., Peavey S., and Cheng H.-t. 1998. A study of consumers at a small farmers' market in Maine: results from a 1995 survey. Journal of Food Distribution Research 29(1):9199.
34 Kezis A.S., King R.F., Toensmeyer U.C., Jack R., and Kerr H.W. 1984. Consumer acceptance and preference for direct marketing in the northeast. Journal of Food Distribution Research 15:3846.
35 SWLFP 2003. Local food businesses in the south west of England: research report, March 2003. South West Local Food Partnership, Exeter, UK.
36 Larson J.A. and Gillie G.L. 1996. Characteristics of producers and consumers at northwest Missouri farmers' markets. Transactions, Missouri Academy of Science 30:7279.
37 Govindasamy R., Italia J., and Adelaja A. 2002. Farmers' markets: consumer trends, preferences, and characteristics. Journal of Extension 40(1):17.
38 Eastwood D.B. 1996. Using consumer surveys to promote farmers' markets: a case study. Journal of Food Distribution Research October:2330.
39 Brooker J.R., Eastwood D.B., and Gray M.D. 1993. Consumers' perceptions and attitudes regarding Tennessee's new farmers' markets. Tennessee Farm and Home Science Fall: 1419.
40 Manalo A.B., Sciabarrasi M.R., Haddad N.A.G., and McWilliam J. 2003. Buying products directly from farmers and valuing agriculture: behavior and attitudes of New Hampshire food shoppers. University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension, Durham, NH.
41 Wedel M. and Kamakura W.A. 1998. Market Segmentation: Conceptual and Methodological Foundations. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Boston, MA.
42 Odekerken-Schroder G., Ouwersloot H., Lemmik J., and Semeijin J. 2003. Consumers' trade-off between relationships, service package and price: and empirical study of the car industry. European Journal of Marketing 37(1/2):219242.
43 Honkanen P., Olsen S.O., and Myrland O. 2004. Preference-based segmentation: a study of meal preferences among Norwegian teenagers. Journal of Consumer Behaviour 3(3):235.
44 Carmichael B.A. and Smith W.W. 2004. Canadian domestic travel behaviour: A market segmentation study of rural shoppers. Journal of Vacation Marketing 10(4):333.
45 Hunt A.R. 2003. Preserving the economic viability of the agricultural landscape: a contingent valuation study of locally produced beef [Bachelor of Science]. Bates College, Lewiston, ME.
46 Drake L. 1992. The non-market value of the Swedish agricultural landscape. Ecosystems and Nature 19:351364.
47 Everitt B.S., Landau S., and Leese M. 2001. Cluster Analysis. 4th ed. Oxford University Press, New York.
48 National Agricultural Statistics Service. 2002. Census of Agriculture.
49 Economic Research Service. 2003. Agricultural Resource Management Survey.
50 US Census Bureau. 2000. U.S. Census.
51 US Census Bureau. Earnings by occupation and education. Table 2. Earnings detailed by occupation 1999.
52 US Census Bureau. 2004. Census 2000 PHC-T-33. Earnings Distribution of U.S. Year-round Full-time Workers by Occupation: 1999. Table 1. Earnings Distribution of All U.S. Year-round Full-time Workers by Occupation. Available at website: (verified 26 September 2005).
53 Frenzen J.K. and Davis H.L. 1990. Purchasing behavior in embedded markets. Journal of Consumer Research 17(1):112.
54 Flora J.L. 1998. Social capital and communities of place. Rural Sociology 63(4):481506.
55 Goland C. and Bauer S. 2004. When the apple falls close to the tree: local food systems and the preservation of diversity. Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems 19(4):228236.
56 Irland L.C. 1998. Maine's forest area, 1600–1995: review of available estimates.
57 Spear R.W. 2005. Personal communication with the Maine Commissioner of Agriculture, Augusta, ME.
58 European Commission. 2005. Quality products catch the eye: PDO, PGI and TSG. Available at Web site: (verified 20 January 2005).
59 Myers N. and Mittermeier R.A. 2000. Biodiversity hotspots for conservation priorities. Nature 403(6772):853858.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems
  • ISSN: 1742-1705
  • EISSN: 1742-1713
  • URL: /core/journals/renewable-agriculture-and-food-systems
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 37
Total number of PDF views: 185 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 1043 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 23rd October 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.