Research is being undertaken to find out exactly how much Farmers Markets are worth to the New Zealand economy since they started popping up around the country more than 10 years ago.

Research is under way to pin down exactly how much farmers markets are worth to the economy since they emerged a decade ago.

A conservative estimate from Farmers Markets Association chairman Chris Fortune, a Marlborough chef and market founder, puts the figure at $30 million a year.

Waikato University is producing hard figures on the economic impacts of New Zealand’s 48 farmers markets, as the national organisation cranks up efforts to future-proof local food trading and protect its unofficial brand.

New Zealand Farmers Markets are food markets where local growers, farmers and artisan food producers sell directly to local communities without a middleman. Stallholders can only sell what they grow, farm, pickle, preserve, bake, smoke or catch themselves from a defined area of their local geography.

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