Reflections from the 2023 Oxford Real Farming Conference

At the Oxford Real Farming Conference 2023 in early January, WorldFMC members, Peter Leblanc (British Columbia Association of Farmers’ Markets, Canada), Selorm Akaba (University of Cape Coast, Ghana), Viola Capriola (Grønt Marked, Denmark), Richard Bewley (Grønt Marked, Denmark), and our Provisional President Richard McCarthy spoke on a panel called: Strategies for Farmers Markets to Connect Disparate Communities: Building bridges beyond the rural/urban gap.  After the conference, we collected some reflections from the panelists: 

“I really appreciate the opportunity the World Farmer Market Coalition gave me to serve on a panel about how Farmers Markets connect the rural to the urban. I really enjoyed the discussion from my other panelist and the fantastic questions from those who attended. To be on a panel with colleagues from North America, Africa and Europe was a vibrant experience.” – Peter Leblanc

“Participation in local community economies boosts urban and rural performances. Vertical coordination within the agri-food system must benefit all actors including farmers and consumers. Farmers market has the potential of being the needed market outlet to boost agriculture sales as it is an improvement on traditional market.”– Selorm Akaba

“There seems to be a genuine desire to figure out HOW to incorporate targeted audiences who do not feel that the farmers market is theirs to enjoy. A question from the UK indicated that they run some sort of incentive program (vouchers), but have not been able to make the market attractive to the low-income communities they are targeting. This is a challenge of branding, location, communications, etc. This is an area where we hope that our community of practice can devote the time to really unpack how you do this. We’re all learning, but there are some great strategies to share that democratize the farmers markets so that they are truly there for everyone. The other was the question of CSA and box/delivery schemes and their relationships to farmers markets. This is a key issue. How to bridge these often disparate strategies. Again, we have many lessons to share.” – Richard McCarthy

Here is a link to the full recording – scroll to the bottom of the page! Also, keep an eye out for a full article to be posted on our website about the case of farmers markets in Ghana.  Thank you to these panelists and to the organizers of the conference. 

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