by Christopher Green
More than $3.3 million in total sales was made during the first six months of 2019 by six different area farmers markets, including those in Dripping Springs and Buda.
That metric, part of a report from the Texas Center for Local Food (TCLF), showed an economic impact from farmers markets in the Austin area. The $3.3 million derived from farmers markets in Sunset Valley, three in the Austin area, as well as markets in Buda and Dripping Springs.
According to the report, there is roughly 17,192 acres of diversified farmland that’s in production by those who regularly attend farmers markets. However, Travis County loses nine acres of farmland every day to development.
The six Austin area markets support 188 businesses over the course of the year. Farmers markets allow new and small businesses to enter the marketplace, according to the report.
Sue Beckwith, executive director for the TCLF, said the six markets measured help bolster local and regional economies.
“Every dollar that’s spent on locally grown food goes almost entirely to the farmer. Those famers are then spending that money at their local stores, so that money stays here,” Beckwith said. “It’s as much as an eight times higher return when you spend your money to support a locally owned business.”
Laurel Robertson, Dripping Springs Farmers Market Manager, said that farmers markets help people get products in a better manner rather going through big corporations.
“Direct marketing, from the farmer’s hand to the consumer’s, means the product is fresher, it means the money is circulating in the economy and shopping at a farmers market ramps that number up significantly,” Robertson said.
In a statement, Edwin Marty, Food Policy Manager for the City of Austin, said the Austin area has always been known for its great food and the farmers that supply the food are in great demand.
“From the thousands of acres of Central Texas land, they carefully cultivate and protect, to the thousands of jobs they create, we must do everything possible to ensure our farming community is well supported,” Marty said. “There’s no better way to do that than by going to your local farmers market and putting your dollars to work.”