Fresh Produce For Sale at the Wayne Farmers Market Photo by Michigan Municipal League Summer 2014
Image by Michigan Municipal League (MML)
The Michigan Municipal League is doing a series of case studies or how-to reports about placemaking activities taking place throughout the Great Lakes State. The League recently completed an in-depth look at the state’s rapidly growing farmers market movement. In doing the study, the League visited about 40 of the 300-plus markets in Michigan.
We took photos of each market observed and are posting them here on flickr so that the world can see the important role that farmers markets can play in making vibrant communities. Feel free to use any of these photos from our stop at the City of Wayne Farmers Market in Downtown Wayne. We arrived just as they were setting up that day’s market. If you use any of these photos we just ask that photo credit be given like this: flickr photo/Michigan Municipal League, mml.org.
You can view the farmers market case study here: placemaking.mml.org/michigan-farmers-markets and a blog and slideshow about the farmers markets here: placemaking.mml.org/2014/09/15/placemaking-in-action-mich…. You can view all our how-to reports here: placemaking.mml.org/how-to/. Go here to view our flickr entire collection of farmers market photos: www.flickr.com/photos/michigancommunities/collections/721…
Here are some details about this case study and what we found during our statewide farmers market tour in the summer of 2014:
The 300-plus farmers markets that exist in Michigan come in all shapes and sizes. They’re in large urban centers and tiny villages. They pop up in parking lots, fields, roadsides, on main street and in permanent, historic structures.
They sell traditional farmers market fare – corn, apples, maple syrup, potatoes, and pumpkins – and the unexpected – homemade spices, baby clothes, fresh-caught fish, jewelry, and even sea urchin. You can get your knives sharpened, your face painted and your groceries for the week. At a farmers market you can find old friends and meet new ones. And you can talk to the vendor who grew the melon or flowers you’re thinking about buying.
Farmers markets can even help create a place for people to gather and revitalize a community and give an economic boost to existing businesses and inspire new merchants to open.
In writing a how-to case study about Michigan Farmers Market for the Michigan Municipal League, I got the chance this summer to visit about 30 markets across our great state. I saw thousands of people pack into the new location for the Flint Farmers Market to great fanfare for its grand opening in downtown on June 21. I smelled the yummy salsa dish a woman was preparing for her church fundraiser at the Dansville Farmers Market. I saw a man holding a rooster in Birmingham, a robotics team in Grand Blanc, violinists performing in East Lansing and Traverse City, and Spanish mackerel on sale at the new Downtown Market in Grand Rapids.
I’ve always enjoyed going to farmers markets but the sights and sounds I experienced in my market tour this summer were truly inspirational, exciting and simply fun. While I saw many successful markets, I did experience some that seemed to need a shot in the arm. I also attempted to go to a couple markets that I eventually learned are no longer in operation.
So what makes one market flourish as another withers on the vine?
The success or failure of a market can come down to three words: Relationships, relationships, relationships, said Dru Montri, director of the Michigan Farmers Market Association, an East Lansing-based non-profit organization that tracks and provides support to farmers markets throughout the state.
Montri said the 320 farmers markets in their data base this year is a record high since the association formed and starting tracking farmers markets in 2006. While some close each year many more open.
“Farmers markets are based on relationships,” Montri explained. “That’s the best thing about markets, and it can also be the most challenging aspect of markets. It’s relationships between farmers themselves, relationships between vendors and the market management, relationships between the market manager and sponsors and relationships between vendors and shoppers. All of those are very, very important. People love farmers markets because of that. People love going and talking to vendors about how things are grown.”
But Montri said when relationships sour that can impact everything in a market. A successful market will have strong leaders who can forge good relationships on all levels. She suggests a market have a board of directors or advisory team to oversee it.
Montri said the number of farmers markets in Michigan have doubled since 2006 for several reasons.
Those reasons include an increase in consumer interest about where and how their food is made and processed; a growing awareness among community leaders about the value a farmers market can have in economic development and creating a sense of place and community in their town; and a desire by farmers and vendors in direct marketing options, which tend to be more profitable.
She believes the number of markets will continue to grow for the foreseeable future, especially as more markets start to offer financial assistance programs to those in need, such as the acceptance of SNAP Bridge Cards and related services.
“There is such a large number of consumers who haven’t even yet considered shopping at farmers markets,” Montri said. “As long as we have the potential to bring more people into farmers markets, we have the opportunity to expand the number of markets. As long as we are strategic about growth, we can avoid these saturation points. But, starting a market a mile away from an existing market on the same day of the week, for example, can cause over saturation.”
This post and related case study was written by Matt Bach, director of media relations for the Michigan Municipal League. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Whenever a special event is held, one of the main necessities is some form of glassware. Champagne Glasses, Wine Glasses, Drinking Glasses, Rocks Glasses, Candle Votives- the needs are endless when it comes to events. Many party planners, event holders, and people like yourself depend on caterers, vendors, or renting out glassware for these special events. Although renting glassware for your special event seems convenient, the pros of buying your own seem to outweigh strongly.
The most obvious reason why buying your own event glassware is price. For those who hold numerous events a year, or event just 2-3, know the cost of having fine glassware at your event adds up. Not only do caterers and vendors over price glassware and charge deposits for ones broken by guests but you end up paying a ton more in the end than you would have if you just purchased the glassware yourself.
Have you ever seen the glassware vendors provide? Although high-quality glassware is offered by some, it is priced high above your average glasses. Other than that, you are left with worn out, scratched, faded, and slightly yellowish glassware that therefore affects your event in a major way. With all of the effort put into such an event, the last thing you need is your guests sipping out of old, chipped, or scratched glasses. Buy buying your own glassware sets for events, you don’t have to worry about quality. Many companies offer high-quality glassware in several ultra-chic, elegant designs, all at wholesale, wallet-friendly prices. For example, it would be cheaper to purchase 100 elegant hand-blown, colored champagne flutes for your events, than to rent 100 glasses for your 3-4 events per year. Imagine how much more life beautiful stemware would add to your event’s reputation!
So next time you being planning your event, party, wedding, or other special evening, thing first before you sign up for a vendors glassware rental. You can just as easily have your very own set of high-quality, classy glassware at a much lower price. The best part? Your guests will never know how much you saved!
Discount Glassware offers a wide selection of Event Glassware such as Blank or Customized Champagne Flutes as well as Wine Glasses, Shot Glasses, and more! You can order your event glassware blank, colored, or customized at the lowest possible wholesale prices! Shop at http://www.discountglassware.com.