Rapid Market Assessments - What They Are & Why They're Important
If you attend the CitiParks Farmers Markets at East Liberty (Monday) or the North Side (Friday) this week, you may notice something unusual going on. This week, the Pittsburgh Food Policy Council is doing Rapid Market Assessments at both of these markets.
What is a Rapid Market Assessment, or RMA? An RMA is a set of low-cost, simple tools for farmers markets to get information about their farmers markets and who is attending them. This information can then be used by the market managers to make decisions about what to change and how to improve.
RMAs generally have three parts – attendance counts, dot surveys, and Constructive Comments and Observations (CCOs).
The attendance count is designed to provide a baseline number for how many people are attending the farmers market. This is important information but can be difficult to determine. Many markets don’t have a single entrance, and people wander in and out throughout the time it’s open. Also, the numbers can fluctuate over the course of the market; weather and special events can also impact how many people are there.
The second tool, dot surveys, is a way for market goers to provide some feedback about the market. Large posters are set up with 3-4 questions – these can range from simple demographics to questions about changes customers would like to see at the market. The dot surveys are anonymous – market goers simply put a dot sticker on the appropriate poster for their answer.
The third tool is the Constructive Comments and Observations section. RMA team members who are unfamiliar with the market walk around and answer questions about the market lay-out, flow, as well as the “feel” of the market.
So if you come to the East Liberty or North Side Markets this week, please help us by participating – this information will be incredibly helpful as the markets continue to change and grow!
Keep checking back in the upcoming weeks for more information about the RMA results. We will be sharing our findings soon!