Wondering how a recession or economic downturn affects how farmers market customers shop?


Our farmers market here in Carson City began during the downtimes after the previous recession. We grew quickly. With SNAP, WIC, and Senior Farmers Market Nutirtion Program along with other resources those who are facing hardships still have access to local food. And farmers markets are equipped to provide that resource for shoppers and farmers. Those who are affected less, still shop at the market. 


During the stay-in orders during COVID-19 prevention, farmers’ markets were deemed essential businesses – just like restaurants and grocery stores. 


You provide food to people. You are vital to the wellbeing of communities. 


While I don’t want to say that you are recession-proof, you will be able to survive with some things in place, you might even come closer to thriving during downtimes. People will be losing jobs, losing income, and cutting back on spending. This will affect you as their spending habits change, but take the steps to get the word out, make sure to stay in communication with your customers consistently to give you the best chance. 


And follow these 3 things you can do to set yourself up for a more successful economic crisis.



Build your email list 


One of my top pieces of advice for all business owners. Grow your email list. I know the buzz out there is that “I don’t check my email” and “email is dead.” But what marketers and businesses like yours find is their email list is gold. 


Email marketing is one of the strongest parts of your online sales funnel. It’s one of the highest converting tools you can use in online marketing. 


People want more information before they buy from you. This means direct sales from social media posts or an ad aren’t the reality. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll get some direct sales, but it won’t be your bread and butter. Nor should we expect that. 


What does work well is a consistent connection with your loyal customers and new customers? Once people begin to see you show up consistently in their inboxes they begin to trust you will always be there. And if they opt-out, good, they aren’t your ideal customer. Those loyal people will stay subscribed, and they’ll want to see what you have to offer. 

Once you have won them over, they buy from you. This is a list of people you own – you didn’t buy these people’s information from anyone, you earned their attention. You don’t have to jump through algorithm hoops to get your emails seen, you have been chosen by your subscribers. 


Keep their attention by providing valuable educational or entertaining information and only “sell” or “offer” 20% of the time, keep their trust. If you want more on how to do this check out the Off-Season Marketing guide…it’s not just off-season it’s for any season you want to ramp up and grow your customer base.



Participate in your local farmer’s markets


The beauty of farmers markets is some of the work is done for you, you get to meet your customer face-to-face, markets have resources to help those who need public help, like those on WIC, SNAP and the Senior Farmers Market Nutirtion Program, which make take the difficulty out of all that paperwork for you, and you can tap into an audience that is likely larger than your own, through their email lists and social channels.


Meet your customers where they are, and I bet your customers are visiting farmers’ markets.



Seek support from local business agencies, government aid, and agricultural resources


Reach out to your States’ Division of Agriculture, local business services such as the Small Business Association, your local cooperative extension to see what help is available in your area. Also check federal and national levels of agricultural agencies like the USDA, Farmaid, American Farmland Trust, and this Emergency Disaster Assistance link can help.

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