Compeer Financial’s Fund for Rural America, the Farm Credit cooperative’s giving program, has awarded Farmers Market Grants, totaling $89,503. This is the fifth year Compeer Financial has offered these grants.
The grants are supporting 77 farmers market organizations, with funding up to $1,000 for marketing, technology or educational efforts. 39 farmer vendors received grants of up to $500. Since the grant debuted in 2019, these grants have directly impacted 10,173 people and touched the lives of 9 million farmers market visitors.
Karen Schieler, senior corporate giving specialist at Compeer Financial, says they are seeing trends from grant recipients this year.
“Marketing continues to be the most needed resource for both vendors and markets,” said Schieler. “Vendors are doing more to brand their businesses and build connections with farmers. Market organizations are continually relying on different media channels to reach a broader population of the community.”
Farmers markets are also investing in technology to expand payment options with SNAP benefits through EBT and credit card payments. This year’s markets report that farmer vendors make up 45% of their total vendors. Having a balance of farmers and other vendors helps attract more customers to the market. 2023 farmer grant recipients say that farmers market sales account for more than 50% of their annual sales on average.
“Farmers markets bring fresh, healthy foods directly to communities in an accessible way,” said Schieler. “Many markets have had to make changes through technology, marketing and education in recent years. Through these grants, we hope to recognize the huge asset that farmers markets are to our communities.”
The 77 farmers markets in Compeer Financial’s territory receiving grants include:
Aitkin Farmers Market
Audubon Farmers Market (Minneapolis)
Cambridge Farmers Market
Cannon Falls Farmers Market at Artisan Plaza
Cannon Valley Farmers’ Market (Northfield)
Chisago City Farmers Market
Cold Spring Farmers Market
Cuyuna Range Farmers Market (Crosby)
Eagan Market Fest
Lake City Market by the Lake
Lanesboro Farmers Market
Lewiston Area Farmer’s Market
Lincoln Park Farmers Market (Duluth)
Mahtomedi Area Farmers’ Market
Mankato Farmers Market
Neighborhood Roots (Kingfield Farmers Market, Minneapolis)
Red Wing Area Farmers Market Association
Rice Area Farmers Market
Richfield Farmers Market
Richmond Farmers Market
Riverwalk Market Fair (Northfield)
Saint Paul Farmers’ Market (Lakeville)
St. Cloud Area Farmers Market
The Village Farmers Market (Rochester)
Wabasha Downtown Farmers Market