wide variety of community members participated in the formation of the market in the spring of 2002, including potential consumers, farmers, vendors, business people, government officials and community leaders, with help from a City of Austin feasibility study grant. An overwhelmingly positive response resulted and the market was deemed a viable venture.
On May 3, 2003, the Austin Farmers’ Market (AFM) opened to a bustling crowd of 3,500—which propelled AFM into the top 10% of markets.
The Austin Farmers’ Market is a project of Sustainable Food Center (SFC), a local 501 (c)(3) non-profit that creates opportunities for individuals to make healthy food choices and to participate in a vibrant, local food system.
Highlights from 2007 Consumer Survey:
* 74% of the market customers are between 25 to 54 years-old, with about 25% in each category of 25-34; 35-44; and 45-54 years-old.
* 72% of the market shoppers are female.
* 51% of the shoppers have 2 people in the household, but 34% of the shoppers state that they have children at home.
* 27% of the customers come weekly, 22% come twice a month. 17% of the customers surveyed had been coming all 5 years since the market opened.
People come to the market for specific reasons:
* 77 % to obtain fruits and vegetables
* 56 % to support local farms and businesses
* 32% to buy cheese
* 26% to buy baked goods
* 23% to buy meats
* They also seek out ready-to-eat foods to eat a meal at the market (17%) and buy prepared foods for later (15%)
* 64% of consumers say that they have increased their consumption of fruits and vegetables
* And 70% says that have also increased their household dollars on fruits and vegetables
A good portion of the consumers are willing to explore new tastes:
* 59% tried a new fruit or vegetable, and
* 42% tried a new recipe that they received at the market.
These are trends on the rise.