Farmers' markets are often identified as the roots of marketing enterprise. They are usually considered as part of a traditional economy. This study seeks to examine how the social and political context shaped the appearance, growth, decline, and reappearance of farmers' markets in Canada. It aims to demonstrate the continuation and resilience of this industry.
Published research and historical documents of Canadian farmers' markets were used to derive a periodization of events based on events and turning points to allow an understanding of the factors affecting business success.
This study finds three eras of farmers' markets in Canada that were shaped by the social and political environment. In the first era, between 1800 and 1915, immigrants brought their conception of farmers' markets from Europe to the early settlements of the “new world.” In the second era between 1916 and 1970, as people moved west they became more self‐sufficient. Life became modernized and farming became more industrial. People shifted from their reliance on farmers' markets to more general mercantile stores and then to modern supermarkets. In the third era, starting in the 1970s, farmers' markets came into resurgence, largely as a result of a growing interest in the environment and local foods. They are currently, however, mostly relegated to a niche role in the modern food supply.
This study shows how the success of a particular commercial enterprise, in this case farmers' markets, is shaped by and reacts to larger forces in the business environment.
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