Mass Farmers Markets Seeks And Finds Support From Corporate Partners

Sponsorships Help Underwrite Activities to Make Local Food Accessible to Broader Audiences

Boston, MA – July 31, 2012 – Folks expect to find local blackberries at their local farmers market, but not AT&T/Blackberry. With the flock of customers descending on area farmers markets in the summer, more companies are realizing the benefits of appearances at local markets as a valuable and effective way to connect with customers. This summer, Mass Farmers Markets is finding success in reaching out to corporate partners whose participation as sponsors help underwrite the community activity so necessary for successful markets.

Mass Farmers Markets (MFM), founded in 1978, is the only non-profit organization working statewide on behalf of farmers markets. In addition to managing three of the most robust farmers’ markets (Copley Square, Boston; Davis Square, Somerville; and Central Square, Cambridge), MFM provides educational resources to some 250+ other markets and their communities throughout the state. MFM also manages the redemption process for the state’s Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program and the Elder Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program. It also is a leader on SNAP sales broadening access to local food for a growing population.

This summer, corporate partners are participating in MFM markets in an effort to reach the large consumer crowds and to underscore their alignment with sustainability, eating locally, and building community. On a recent sweltering Friday, Peet’s Coffee & Tea served almost 3,000 five ounce samples of their new Peet’s Iced Coffee at the Copley Square market.

“Consumers head to farmers’ markets because of their desire to have a deeper connection to their food,” said Anna Shahsavari, senior marketing manager for Peet’s Coffee & Tea. “And Peet’s commitment to selectively sourcing the world’s best coffees, roasting them by hand in small batches, and delivering the freshest coffee to its customers made it a good fit with the market.”

The mix of professionals, urbanites, and young people is what attracted AT&T/Blackberry recently who used appearances at Davis Square and Copley to demonstrate the new Blackberry mobile line-up and to offer incentives to visit local sales outlets. While not as obvious a fit amongst the artisanal products and local produce, AT&T’s participation was welcomed when customers learned that their participation was helping to underwrite the market. Other companies that are on board this summer include Zipcar and Stonyfield Farm.

“Many folks think that farmers markets just spring up out of nothing in the spring, and fade away in the late fall,” says Jeff Cole, Executive Director of Mass Farmers Markets. “It actually takes year round effort and a lot of organization, attention to detail, and community outreach to run a successful market. Corporate sponsorships help us to keep the vendor contributions affordable for farmers, while bringing the best mix of products possible to the public.” As a farmer himself, Jeff has a unique understanding of both the business of farmers markets and the challenges of farming.

Mass Farmers Markets’ managed markets are held as follows:
Central Square, Cambridge (Mondays 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. 5/21-11/19);
Copley Square, Boston (Tuesdays and Fridays, 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. 5/15-11/20); and Davis Square, Somerville (Wednesdays, 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. 5/23-11/21).

For further details about Mass Farmers Markets, visit www.massfarmersmarkets.org or contact Betty Fulton at (617) 262-6540 x.12 or bfulton@commpromo.com.