2023 BC Farmers’ Market Economic Impact Study


Over the summer 2023, the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets (BCAFM) will complete the BC Farmers’ Markets Economic Impact Study of its member farmers’ markets. The purpose of the study is to support the development of farmers’ markets across the province. By collecting data about what customers spend and how many people attend, we can quantify the significant contributions of markets to the communities and increase their visibility.  The results will help demonstrate the value of your market to your local government. potential funders, and members of the public.

The study will centre on completing market assessments, which involves a one-day, on-site study of customers while a participating farmers’ market is operating. Our aim is to complete study assessments in a total of 65 farmers’ markets of all types and sizes across the province.  The method consists of four parts, which are described below including:

  • flip chart survey;
  • crowd count;
  • customer survey; and
  • business survey

The study is a collaboration between BCAFM, the University of Northern BC (UNBC), and participating BCAFM member farmers’ markets throughout BC. The results will be of interest to a wide range of organizations and agencies, including:

  • BC farmers’ markets and the farm-direct marketing sector;
  • Food industry stakeholders;
  • Municipal, provincial and federal governments;
  • Other diverse stakeholders: planners, food systems/food security networks, small business and economic development, tourism, health.



The success of the study will depend on collaboration by everyone involved.  For each participating market, the BCAFM project team will provide the following to conduct a market assessment:

  • Lead the on-site market assessment to ensure a successful outcome;
  • Provide all printed materials required to complete the assessment;
  • Help participating farmers’ market prepare for the assessment;
  • Prepare customized reports for each farmers’ market; and,
  • Provide communications materials (e.g., press releases) to each farmers’ market to help promote the results of the survey.
  • In addition, the BCAFM will pay each participating market an honorarium of $200. This honorarium acknowledges the value of each market’s participation in the province-wide study.

To complete an assessment, each participating farmers’ market will provide the following support:

  • Identify a dedicated contact person;
  • Organize a team of volunteers (3 to 5 people);
  • Provide at least five flip chart stands;
  • Provide space on-site that is visible, sheltered, and large enough to accommodate at least five flip charts; and,
  • Submit data required to complete a market profile (e.g., number and type of vendors, seasonal sales information).



The study is centred on completing market assessments across the province. The one-day, on-site assessment is based on the method used successfully in markets throughout British Columbia previously completed in 2006 and 2012. By using the same methods, we will be able to compare results with these previous studies.

Flip-chart survey:  The flip-chart survey method engages consumers in friendly interaction through multiple-choice questions posted in large print on flip charts. This approach has a high response rate, thereby increasing validity and accuracy. Five questions are asked.

Crowd count:  During a short period (e.g., 10 minutes) during each hour a market is open, members of the assessment team stand at each of the major entry points to the market and count people entering.  The total number of attendees is then estimated from these systematic counts.  This estimate is then used to calculate a seasonally-adjusted annual crowd count.

Customer survey:  The customer survey is a more detailed, one-on-one survey with market customers. These interviews provide insight to customer shopping preferences and behaviours.

Business surveys:  The assessment also involves surveys of business owners.  The data collected includes information about the importance of the farmers’ market to nearby businesses.



Now to Mar 2023: Recruit 65 BCAFM farmers’ markets

Jun to Aug 2023: Data gathering

Jun to Oct 2023: Data analysis and reporting

Nov 2023: Final report



Dr. David J. Connell of the UNBC will lead the project, as he did in 2006 and 2012.  Dr. Connell will be supported by the BCAFM team, along with a Project Manager and Project Co-ordinator, who will manage day-to-day activities and co-ordinate engagement with participating markets.  Research Associates located in different regions of the province will be responsible for carrying out the market assessments at each participating market.  We will have one project staff member physically present during each market assessment.

Project Coordinator Job Posting



If your farmers’ market is interested in participating in this 2023 study, please complete the Expression of Interest Form at this link. As our aim is to conduct the most representative provincial study, BCAFM and the study project team will determine the final roster of farmers’ market participants. In spring 2023, BCAFM and the study team will reach out to markets and confirm the final roster of participating markets.

DEADLINE TO EXPRESS INTEREST: Wednesday, March 15, 2023 at 5pm

If you have any questions about the 2023 BC Farmers’ Market Economic Impact Study, please contact:

Impact Project Coordinator


Thank you very much for your interest in this study.

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