Farmers markets: the new (rural) economy?

North Dakota State Roundup

Published March 1, 2004  | March 2004 issue

The state Department of Agriculture plans to promote farmers markets in towns around the state. The inspiration comes from a successful farmers market in Grand Forks that is visited by more than 3,000 people on Saturdays and brings in over 60 vendors.

About 50 people from around the state attended an educational conference held by the department. Nine towns expressed interest in starting markets, and the department intends to help them get started by this summer.

Other conference attendants decided to incorporate as the North Dakota Farmers Market and Growers Association to coordinate such efforts.

Such markets, the department thinks, have the potential to bring rural residents to towns for what they may not find at local retailers. The market in Grand Forks, for example, also offers live entertainment.

Another unique draw would be homemade goods unavailable at chain stores. Officials have branded the phenomenon “entertainment agriculture.”

Joe Mahon