Data Collection Methods: Vendor Profiles
Vendor profiles are a critical component of Farmers Market Metrics. The vendor data you collect as part of your application process is rich with demographic information that can be directly translated into impacts in your community. Some examples are below:
- How many acres do you cultivate? = “X acres of farmland kept in production”
- How many people work for you? = “X people employed by our vendors”
Simply by asking the right questions of vendors regularly, any market can quantify a great many of the benefits that are gained.
There are two ways a vendor can have a profile – either they create it themselves, or the market manager creates one for them. We strongly recommend the vendor creates the profile themselves, as this fosters a sense of ownership and accountability over the data.
In order to have a complete vendor profile, all that is required are 11 simple questions that most vendors can answer off the top of their heads. These questions can be found on the downloadable template to the right of this page. If a vendor chooses to be more thorough, they can add their vendor bio and logo, which is included in the market’s directory, bringing more awareness to the vendor.
Once a vendor has a profile, market managers can search for and add the vendor to their markets within FarmersMarketMetrics.org. For markets where vendor-level sales reporting is required, vendors can feel confident in reporting their sales through Metrics, where only the vendor and market manager will be able to view that data.
Vendor Profiles must be confirmed or updated once a year. At the start of each new year, a vendor’s profile will be changed to “Needs Update.” The vendor or market manager can enter the profile by clicking the confirm button next to each field where the data is still correct, and updating fields if necessary. Once this is completed, the vendor’s profile will return to “Active.” It’s important to note that a vendor’s underlying information will still be used in all metrics and reports when their status is “Needs Update.” Market managers should endeavor to have vendors update this data as a part of their vendor application, to keep the information as fresh as possible.
When asking vendors for information, let them know exactly what the market is doing with the information. Since this information is being used to highlight the hard work and impacts the market vendors bring to the community, it should be explained openly and as early in the process as possible. If the data collection is centered around a particular funding opportunity, be sure to include that as well. Asking for data from the vendors may be a slow process, but in the long run, using this data well will bring them into the data sharing fold.