A school district in Massachusetts has found that a farmers market gives students real world opportunity to learn about time management, team cooperation, and marketing skills.
Farmers markets are no longer informal ventures that are occasional, seasonal businesses. Many towns are looking to start them, or enhance and expand them. The markets include coffee sellers, live entertainment, and craft vendors. They are also community social meeting places.
At Lowell High School, the market is not only a gathering of vendors, but a place where students with marketing abilities and ideas can build it and grow it. The Lowell farmers market is now providing innovative hands on experience for Lowell students thanks to Superintendent Dr. Debra Howe and marketing teacher Brad Docter.
“This felt like a great fit with our project-based learning environment,” says Dr. Howe, after discussing with several fellow members on the Lowell Chamber of Commerce before approaching Docter with their ideas. “It seemed like a perfect way to engage our students.”
The marketing curriculum that Docter presents works well with building and selling a collaboration. Students use written and verbal communication, and learn valuable skills in time management and team work. They prepare the market layout and research and set vendor fees. They also approach potential vendors.
“Since many of our classes are project-based, this idea fit with not only our marketing class, but our graphic design class and horticulture classes as well,” Docter says. “The students bought into the idea immediately, mostly because they saw it as something different and very much based in the real world.”