Here is an extremely important area for market leaders and vendors to consider: Those lovely early adopters to our markets were a small, unique set and so attracting the next 97% will require some different tools and strategies. Often, I hear market vendors mildly complaining about the type of shopper the market currently has, bemoaning their lack of knowledge about the market and products, which certainly can be frustrating. It often seems to be a case of expecting their shoppers to always resemble those early adopters which they simply will not. However, it doesn’t mean that the newbies can’t become as dedicated and as passionate about buying regional goods from local producers. It just means that everyone needs to pitch in and help identify the characteristics of the shoppers that are coming now and share that knowledge with their vendors. Are vendors still putting up signs with the name and location of their farm? Are all prices posted? Do they welcome new faces and take the time to answer the same question for the hundredth or thousandth time? How about you? Do you welcome shoppers? Step in and answer a question for a vendor when he or she is busy and a customer is standing uncertainly to the side?
(Even this article is focused more on technology startups, but few of the details are useful for grassroots organizations as well.)