The potential of the co-operative form for farmers' markets in Ireland: Some lessons from the USA and UK
UK Society for Co-operative Studies
One of the most important developments in small-scale agriculture and in local food retailing in the last decade has been the emergence of a new generation of farmers’ markets in countries such as Ireland, the USA, the UK, New Zealand and Australia. Farmers’ markets are now a significant alternative source of sales, distribution and marketing for many small scale producers and a valuable source of fresh, local and specialist produce for growing numbers of consumers. This paper presents findings from the initial stages of a large-scale study which seeks to establish how farmers’ markets in Ireland can best be structured and organised to increase the competitiveness and sustainability of small farmers and to strengthen farmer influence and control in the marketplace. The research is particularly concerned with examining the potential of formal co-operative structures, which though relatively common in farmers’ markets in the US and the UK, remain largely unexplored in an Irish context. While ongoing extensive quantitative and qualitative research on all Irish farmers’ markets is the primary focus of the research, field visits to markets and key informants in the US and UK have also been conducted and completed. The findings from the latter research – and more specifically, their potential relevance to Irish farmers’ markets at their current stage of development – are the subject of this paper.
Farmers' markets , Co-operative movement , Small-scale agriculture , Local food retailing , Irish farmers' markets
Moroney, A., Briscoe, R., McCarthy, O., O'Shaughnessy, M., and Ward, M. (2009) 'The potential of the co-operative form for farmers' markets in Ireland: Some lessons from the USA and UK'. Journal of Co-Operative Studies, 42 (1), pp. 4-12.
© 2009 UK Society for Co-operative Studies