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Radius of Impact for Iowa Farmers' Markets

Radius of Impact Table13.5 KB

I have a few pieces of information from work done by Dr. Daniel Otto and Theresa Varner that relate to the question of "radius of impact" of Iowa Farmers' Markets (how far sellers and buyers travel to reach markets). I will post more information regarding this question as I find it.

  • Consumers traveled an average of eight miles to get to a market
  • The attached file entitled "Radius of Impact Table" contains a table listing the number of visits to and the miles traveled to farmers' markets, based on their size, from a sample population from Dr. Otto's survey.
  • Though I couldn't find any information on the number of miles vendors traveled to reach each market they sold at, Dr. Otto's study contained some data regarding the number of different farmers' markets vendors planned to attend during the 2004 season:
    • 1 Market: 50% of Respondents
    • 2: 24%
    • 3:12%
    • 4:6%
    • >5:8%

    One can infer from this data that, on average, the more markets a vendor attended, the farther they had to travel to reach each additional market (of course, this data says nothing about the distanceeach vendor had to travel).

The above information is from a paper entitled "Consumers, Vendors, and the Economic Importance of Iowa Farmers' Markets: An Economic Impact Survey Analysis," by Dr. Daniel Otto, Department of Economics, Iowa State University, and Theresa Varner, Graduate Student, Iowa State University.

Demographic and market participation information in the study was collected from a sample of over 4500 consumers and over 780 vendors during the 2004 season. Surveys were conducted by the Iowa Agricultural Statistics Service; the consumers and vendors from a large sample of markets taken from a list of all Iowa markets were selected to take the surveys.

The findings of this study are available in Otto and Varner's paper, located at



Check and see if any of the Farmers Markets in our study area have websites. If so, how do they use the website? Is it an active part of their marketing efforts or a place/location/map brochureware type website only? What do you think of their website efforts (if there is one)? Are there one or two that stand out?

Let's dis-include Henry county from the Fairfield pack of counties to keep our focus on the 4 counties surrounding each target location.

However, when you look for websites ... take a look at the Mount Pleasant site. If I remember correctly they are (were) updating the website weekly with lists of the produce that would be available that week. Haven't looked at that site for a long while, but when I did I was impressed.

I was unable to find individual websites for any of the markets in our eight counties of interest. There are snippets about each of these markets on several sites (,, that include basic information such as times when the market is in session, the types of goods that are sold, etc. For example, the entry for the Fairfield market at includes the following information:

The Fairfield Farmers' Market features vegetables and fruits, baked goods, herbs, handicrafts, flowers, bedding plants and other items. Much of the produce is certified organic, as are some of the baked goods.

When and Where
The Fairfield Farmers' Market is held on Wednesdays from 3:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and on Saturday mornings from 7:30 a.m. to noon. Howard Park is the location of the market, which is 3 blocks north of the city square.
Howard Park
Fairfield, IA 52556
Contact Information
Marsha Laux

The Bloomfield Farmers Market (in Davis County) has a bit more information, located at's%20Market.htm. The site, though only a subset of a greater site about the town of Bloomfield in general, has pictures and a little more information about the Market.

Who is Drs. Otto and Varner, and where/when was their study conducted? How did they gather their research? Where were the farmer's markets they studied?... etc.

Data without information about the context in which it was collected is not very useful.

Please provide the details about the research and the researcher. If you have already provided this background information about this study in another post on this website, please point to that blog or comment so I know where to look to assess the data.