22 Jan UW research project aims to expand farmers markets’ customer base
Federal officials have announced nearly $640,000 in new funding for a Wisconsin-based project aimed at helping farmers markets reach new customers.
The national nonprofit Farmers Market Coalition and UW-Madison were selected for this funding by the USDA Agricultural and Food Research Initiative grant program. Their project’s main goal is to help farmers markets attract new consumers to buy products from small and medium-sized farms, according to a university submission.
Through a partnership with communication researchers, the coalition will identify current and potential market segments through a national survey, with a focus on those that are currently underrepresented among farmers market customers.
“Informed by those findings, we will test messaging strategies on social media through partnerships with diverse farmers markets,” researchers wrote. “This innovative approach will allow us to examine the efficacy of message frames at increasing interest in farmers markets among audience segments.”
Results will be incorporated into the coalition’s existing message resources for farmers market organizers around the country. And the FMC and UW-Madison will hold a series of webinars to share their findings through food systems networks.