A recent presentation from the secretary of the Mabou Farmers Market to Inverness Municipal Council offered some very positive news.
Michelle Smith appeared before council on December 5 to let them know that the market just completed its 10th season.
Smith reported that the farmers market was at capacity for vendors for all but five weeks of its 19-week season. With that, the group attracted 20,500 customers in 2016. That’s up from 17,370 in 2015. Both the number of visitors and vendors are up 50 per cent from 2013.
As well, Smith said that in 2015, sales were $226,695 and this year sales rang in at $272,000. Those numbers were conservative, Smith said, adding that the true 2015 profit may have been as high as $240,000 with this year’s sitting at $290,000, making for a 17 per cent increase over the previous year.
By doubling the amount of total sales and using that number as an approximation of the total economic impact for the area, the Mabou Farmers Market was responsible for $580,000 in economic activity this year; all this from an organization run by volunteers with a budget under $20,000.
There are economic implications for the area as well, Smith added, such as the spin-off effects of having so many visitors coming to the area and spending money.
Looking past recent success, Smith said the market is hoping the municipality can help with upgrades to the upper parking lot of the Mabou Arena.
Considering the staggering success of the farmers market in the agricultural hub of Inverness County, that’s a modest request from a group that is doing so much for the economy.
These sales figures and the amount of interest from vendors and customers numbers speak for themselves.
The Mabou Farmers Market is a roaring success, a model for any other market of this type, and an inspiration for others trying to generate economic activity in their neck of the woods.
There is proof farmers markets not only help local farmers reach customers and sell their goods but provide a huge boost to the general economy.