Appendix A: Tools for Assessing Community Needs

Sample Questions for Assessing Community Interest in a Farmers’ Market

These questions have been used successfully by other farmers’ market operators to assess community needs and interest in farmers’ markets. Some of these questions may not be appropriate for your community. This list is not exhaustive; there may be additional information that you wish to collect which would require asking questions not included here.

  • How many times a month does your household go grocery shopping?
    • 2 – 3
    • 3 – 4
    • 4 – 5
    • 5 or more times
  • How do you get around most of the time?
    • Walk
    • Bus
    • Own car
    • Borrow or share a car
    • Other:
  • What are some activities you or your family likes to do? (Hobbies, interests, etc.)
  • What would you like to learn about cooking, nutrition, or agriculture?
  • On a scale of 1 to 5, (1 is Not at all Important; 5 is Very Important), please rate how important the following factors are in determining what fruits and vegetables you purchase to eat:
    • If it is a good price
    • If it is good quality
    • If I know my family likes it
    • If it is easy to prepare
    • If it is healthy
    • If it is grown organically
    • If it is grown locally
  • Do you and your family members eat fresh fruits and vegetables? Why or why not?
  • Have you been to a farmers’ market before? (A farmers’ market is a market, usually held outdoors, where farmers sell their produce. Certified farmers’ markets only sell produce grown in California.)
    • Yes
    • No
  • If yes, what was the farmers’ market called?
  • Why did you go to the farmers’ market?
  • What did you like or dislike about the experience?
  • In addition to fruit and vegetables, what other activities or items would bring you to the farmers’ market?
    • Herbs and Spices
    • Flowers
    • Bread
    • Hot food
    • Live Music
    • Cooking Demonstrations
    • Nutrition Classes
    • Activities for Kids
    • Blood pressure monitoring
    • Bicycle flat repair
    • Information about local businesses
    • Dance Performances
    • Contests I can participate in
    • Giveaways (bags, water bottles)
    • Other Ideas:
  • Where do you usually find out about local events? (check all that apply)
    • Family or Friends
    • Community Center / Family Resource Center
    • Mail
    • Church
    • Online
    • Facebook, Twitter
    • Newspaper
    • Radio (Stations: __________________)
    • Posters
    • Billboards
    • Other Places:
  • Do you receive any of the following Nutrition Benefits? (check all that apply)
    • Cal Fresh/SNAP/EBT
    • Senior WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP)
    • WIC FMNP
  • How likely would you be to shop at a farmers’ market during each of the following timeframes?
    • Day of the Week, from Starting Time to Ending Time
      • Very Likely
      • Somewhat likely
      • Not sure
      • Unlikely
      • Very Unlikely
    • What other day and time would you suggest?
    • Do you have any other ideas that you think would make a good farmers’ market?
    • Are there particular products you think the farmers’ market needs to add to be successful?
    • In a typical week, how many meals do you or your family prepare at home, instead of eating at a restaurant, or getting fast food or take out?
      • Nearly all of our meals are prepared at home.
      • More than half of our meals are prepared at home.
      • Less than half of our meals are prepared at home.
      • We rarely prepare meals at home.
      • We never prepare meals at home.
    • If you do not prepare very many meals at home, please tell us a little about why you do not:
      • Do not have a kitchen at home
      • Do not feel comfortable cooking
      • Do not like cooking
      • Do not have enough time to cook
      • Other:
    • In a typical day, how many servings of fruits and vegetables do you eat? A serving is usually around a half cup in size.
      • 5 or more servings
      • 4 servings
      • 3 servings
      • 2 servings
      • 1 serving
      • I don’t usually eat fruits and vegetables
    • How easy or difficult is it to find quality fresh fruits and vegetables in your neighborhood?
      • Very Easy
      • Easy
      • Neither Easy nor Difficult
      • Difficult
      • Very Difficult
    • How easy or difficult is it to afford quality fresh fruits and vegetables in your neighborhood?
      • Very Easy
      • Easy
      • Neither Easy nor Difficult
      • Difficult
      • Very Difficult
    • Do you have a food budget? Or a set amount of money that you spend on food each month/week?
      • Yes
      • No
    • How much do you spend on food in a usual month?

Tools for Mapping Community Demographics and Resources

There are a number of free resources available online that can help you to collect data about your community. These data sources are especially helpful when preparing business plans or funding proposals. They are not, however, a substitute for direct knowledge of your community.

  • Community Commons: free online tool for generating maps visualizing food resources, grocery stores, demographics, and many other data sets
  • US Census: Statistical data for the entire United States for political jurisdictions (states, counties, cities, etc.) with some data available down to the neighborhood level.
  • Free Map Tools: A program built onto Google Maps that creates a visual representation of the areas around an address that are within a travel time that you specify.

 

A Guide to Opening Small Farmers' Markets in San Jose, California