Most counties in Iowa feature a weekly farmer’s market during this time of year. A study by Iowa State University is finding those events are much more than a place to pick up fresh produce — they’re a vital economic outlet. Plus, farmer’s markets help foster a sense of civic community.Clare Hinrichs is an I-S-U socioligist and is directing the research project on farmer’s markets. There are 120 such markets in 77 Iowa counties — a number that’s continuing to grow. Hinrichs says the seasonal weekly markets aren’t a -big- revenue source for farmers, but they -are- an important part of their livelihood.Hinrichs says the survey found about a third of farmers who took part in farmer’s markets made less than a thousand dollars a year there. About half made less than 20-thousand. While the cash is very helpful to most farm households, she says it’s more than just the money that keeps farmers -and consumers- returning to the farmer’s markets.The top reasons farmers give for continuing to host farmer’s markets are: having a stable market for established products, direct feedback from customers, and a low overhead.
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