Publication Date

12-2010

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Dr. Katie Algeo (Director), Dr. David Keeling, Dr. Stuart Foster, Dr. Martin Stone

Degree Program

Department of Geography and Geology

Degree Type

Master of Geoscience

Abstract

To assess what factors are driving the exponential growth of farmers’ markets in Kentucky, geospatial and statistical analysis of a database of 121 farmers’ markets was conducted. A statewide survey of market leaders and a case study of a single farmers’ market both identified reasons for growing support of farmers’ markets in Kentucky.

Market distribution, vendor levels, and gross sales were mapped against a backdrop of county urban classification, median household income, and education levels. Kruskal-Wallace analysis was used to identify if Kentucky’s rural, micropolitan, and metropolitan markets differ significantly in terms of their age, number of vendors, and market sales.

Geospatial analysis indicates that farmers’ markets are more concentrated in metropolitan areas of the Commonwealth. However, statistical analysis reveals that farmers’ markets have been established longer in micropolitan areas of the state. Markets across urban classes have significantly different ages and gross sales, but all markets tend to sustain a similar number of vendors. Population levels appear to have the strongest correlation with the variables studied, although education and household median income also may play a role in farmers' market strength.

Market stakeholders believe that markets are gaining popularity as consumers become more aware of food safety and environmental problems in the mass market system. Farmers’ markets are considered an important tool for strengthening the local economy, connecting farmers with consumers, and increasing local availability of fresh and nutritious foods.

Disciplines

Agribusiness | Agricultural Science | Agronomy and Crop Sciences | Geology | Marketing | Natural Resource Economics | Nutrition