MANISTIQUE - The third year of the Manistique Farmers' Market was a topic of discussion at a recent Manistique City Council meeting. Council was updated on the market's economic impact on the city and its success over the past few months.
A representative from the Sault Tribe Strategic Alliance for Health presented council with an economic mpact report of the 2012 farmers' market season based on shopper surveys conducted at the markets on July 11, 18, and 25.
This year, 24 markets were scheduled each Wednesday from May 23 to Oct. 31.
According to survey data, the average number of shoppers during the survey period was 269 per week, with shoppers spending an average of $14 each week. The average number of shoppers for the season through Sept. 5 was 278, with an estimated total attendance from May 23 through Oct. 31 expected to be approximately 6,672 attendees. Sixteen total vendors participated in the market through Sept. 5, with an average of 12 vendors each week.
More than 48 percent of the 125 shoppers who were surveyed said they attend the markets weekly, with 25.6 percent saying it was their first time at the time of the survey, and 16 percent saying they attend several times each month. More than 83 percent of shoppers live in Manistique, while approximately 7 percent surveyed were non-U.P. residents, and the remaining shoppers hailed from the Cooks, Curtis, Gulliver, or Germfask areas.
The economic impact report also indicates that other area businesses benefit from the markets. On average, those who shop at the Manistique Farmers' Market as their primary reason for shopping in Manistique spend an additional $3,740 at other area businesses each Wednesday.
Through Sept. 5, market vendors have also taken in approximately 26 percent of the WIC Project FRESH coupons distributed in Schoolcraft County and 35 percent of the Senior Project FRESH - for a total so far of $672. For both programs, the market has taken in approximately 30 percent of the coupons distributed, compared to 22 percent in 2011.
"I applaud the combined work of the Manistique Farmers' Market Coalition and Kerry Ott, the Sault Tribe SAH coordinator in Manistique for the amazing accomplishments they have achieved in the last few years while building this market," said Sault Tribe SAH Project Coordinator Lisa Myers. "Not only have they provided an avenue for the Manistique community to access local, healthy foods, ... they have provided a venue for local farmers to market their products."
Myers also noted the markets positively impact local business.
"Healthy foods, a venue to market healthy, local foods and increased revenue opportunities for local business - I see this as a winning enterprise," she said.
For more information on the Manistique Farmers' Market visit www.manistiquefarmersmarket.com.