‘Farmers’ brought in $1.3m

The local economy sees an annual “economic benefit” of $1.3 million from the White Rock Farmers’ Market, council heard last week.

It’s a figure officials are proud of, said market president Tina Lambert.

“That’s what the market brings in from about 80 hours of it operating a year,” she said.

The number was detailed in a study undertaken to assess the community and economic benefits of farmers markets in B.C. White Rock Farmers’ Market was among 33 included in the study.

Highlights noted for White Rock – which operates on a budget of less than $100,000 per year – include an increase in per-customer spending at the market to $24.60, from $20.82 determined in a 2006 assessment; and an increase in visitors, to 46,398 in 2012 from 35,273.

The current per-customer spending average is lower than that seen at other B.C. markets and below the Canadian average, the report notes.

More than half (60.7 per cent) of customers surveyed said they would do additional shopping in the area; that number, too, is lower than the 2006 study (66.4), as is the average amount spent in the surrounding area ($13.67 in 2012, compared to $16.15 in 2006).

Lambert said the 2012 additional spending translates to an economic benefit of more than $430,000.

The estimated $1.3 million spent “supports the general view that the market has grown over the past six years,” the report notes. In 2006, the figure was put at $881,000.

Another sign of growth was the number of visitors new to the market. On the study day – Aug. 12, 2012 – 24 per cent of the 570 surveyed said they started shopping there just this season.

Coun. Helen Fathers, who is market manager, told Peace Arch News she is “thrilled” with the findings.

Mayor Wayne Baldwin said the market has “been a success story within our White Rock economy.”

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