NYC Wholesale Farmers’ Market Feasibility Study
New York, New York (2004-2007)
While Greenmarkets have demonstrated the enormous demand among New York City consumers for locally grown foods purchased directly from farmers, significant barriers at the wholesale level prevent local restaurants, grocers, caterers, and food service institutions from accessing foods grown or produced in New York or adjacent states. To address this problem, the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets retained a consultant team led by Market Ventures, Inc. and Karp Resources to study the feasibility of creating a new wholesale farmers’ market or markets in NYC.
In Phase 1, the Market Ventures team conducted two extensive telephone surveys, including a randomly selected group of potential buyers among the nearly 20,000 restaurants, retailers, distributors, and other wholesale food purchasers in New York City, and a randomly selected group of farmers located throughout New York State. The team also studied international models, including Rungis Market in Paris and the Ontario Food Terminal in Toronto. The team quantified the demand and supply for locally grown foods in New York City for these buyers and sellers, created estimates for economic impact, created an “ideal model” for the wholesale farmers’ market, and identified buyer and seller preferences. The team created a web site to enhance communication, www.wholesalefarmersmarketnyc.com, where the final reports can be found.
As a result of this work, the Department, again with support from USDA, retained the MVI/Karp team, including Hugh A. Boyd Architects, to lead an in-depth planning process, including site selection, design, financial analysis, and management planning. Two high potential sites were identified – the Hunts Point Terminal Produce Market and the Fulton Street Fish Market – and the team received initial support from the cooperatives that run both markets to locate the wholesale farmers’ market there. The Governor of New York identified the NYC wholesale farmers’ market as his top agricultural priority and the state’s FY2009 budget includes $25 million to support its development.