Local produce markets are spaces of community interaction, embodied food experiences and most vitally, selling and sharing spaces. Historically, rural markets faded away, while food and drink supply chains became longer. Produce markets are currently experiencing new waves of customer interest as they offer benefits to slower rural tourism and ensure that food grown locally, can be purchased locally. However, markets associations, often social enterprises by their key functions, are constantly challenged by administrative loads for their organisation and successful marketing. Stallholders in a small business struggle to volunteer time to organise such key activities, including recruiting new entrants, which are especially important in rural areas where both potential stallholders and customers are dispersed.
This paper discusses findings from action research collaboration, focusing on facilitation of local produce markets in rural towns across North Wales. Evidence is presented from a survey of market stallholders and interviews with stakeholders involved in supporting and developing these markets. Within the context of hopeful rural governance, it is suggested that a locally customised interpretation of the national campaign of ‘Love your Market’ will grow rural capacity and thus resilience of local food networks through supporting these important community spaces.