HISTORY OF THE ANNUAL CENSUS
The West Virginia Farmers Market Census began in 2012 to identify challenges and strengths in the local food system. Information provided by farmers and farmers market managers has guided the work of the West Virginia Farmers Market Association, which includes many of the resources you find on this website. An annual report is created using the data shared through this survey and has been presented to partners and stakeholders during the Small Farm Conference since 2015.
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO DO TO PREPARE FOR THE ANNUAL CENSUS?
To prepare for this year’s census, start gathering the following information:
- Total Sales from All Vendors;
- The number of vendors registered to sell;
- The average number of vendors who come setup at the market weekly;
- How many customers visit your market on average each week; and
- Where your vendors sell products besides at your farmers market.
WVFMA works with USDA to conduct its annual farmers market census (for inclusion in the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food web database). They also utilize the census as a method to collect crucial data on farmers markets.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO PARTICIPATE IN THE CENSUS?
The West Virginia Farmers Market Census is an opportunity for our organization to feel the heartbeat of our state. The questions are geared towards understanding each individual market, as well as markets as a whole of West Virginia. Questions in the census provide insight to individual markets, benefits the community, and provides data on how we can expand services to meet needs. Other questions may affect policies and practices statewide if enough of the markets seem to face a similar challenge. Policy makers, grant funders, and other support organizations seek to better understand the needs of our farmers, and this is the best way for us to show them that West Virginia farmers markets are worth their time, energy, focus, effort, and funding.