The research project coincided with the Covid19 pandemic and has captured the activity of the markets before and after the pandemic erupted.
The project showed the importance of the markets for the local economy of East Yorkshire. The markets seem to be a lifeline for small farmers and artisans of the region but also for consumers. Many local food producers use the markets not only for selling directly to customers but also to showcase their products for customers who order online afterwards.
Our research showed that the markets would vastly benefit by a policy that perceives small production and small distribution networks as vital for local economies and provides them with public infrastructure (like adequate spaces for the markets, regular and good-value public transport, online presence for small producers). More support to local producers to acquire appropriate equipment and delivery-distribution capacity would benefit not only the producers and traders but also the local consumers.
The project culminated with an online workshop in which producers, market managers, sustainable food practitioners and NGOs came together with academics to discuss their experiences, network and exchange ideas about improving the small markets and supporting small producers. The meeting was an opportunity for the project team to share their latest research findings about farmers markets, small production and local economies, and explore the challenges presented by COVID 19, as well as hearing about research in other parts of the country.