I was just in Alberta over the weekend doing a speaking gig and heard some incredibly encouraging numbers.
Alberta has a burgeoning farmers' market scene that spins circles around anything I've seen in the U.S. According to their stats, 15 percent of Albertans routinely shop at farmers' markets. If you take their expenditures and spread it across that number, it means the average farmers' market shopper spends $1,600 per year.
If you spread that across the entire province, it means the per capita expenditure by all Albertans in farmers' markets is more than $200 per year. In other words, that includes the 85 percent who do not routinely go.
In our county of Augusta, which includes Staunton and Waynesboro, we have 100,000 people. To put what Alberta is doing into perspective, that would mean that the Staunton-Augusta Farmer's Market would be $200 X 100,000, which would be $20,000,000. That's $20 million if you missed it. Currently, our local farmers' market takes in between $100 and $200,000 per year.
So when folks ask about possibilities and opportunities, this is the kind of thing you need to tell them. Can you imagine what that kind of participation would mean to the local agrarian economy and community?
Lead on, Alberta. And thank you for creating a real benchmark.
Why do you think so few people buy local food?