Food travels a path from farm to table in interlocking areas known as food systems. UI Extension community development programs advise businesses and groups that are part of these food systems.
Farmers' markets provide direct marketing channels for small farmers and gathering places for the social life of communities. Market managers and advisory committees often lack the information needed to make efficient immediate decisions for change or plan for effective long-term improvements. Market assessments with attendance counts, customer surveys and outside reviewer observations allow markets to analyze their success as social hubs, their influence on sales for neighboring businesses and to estimate sales for vendors.