People don’t just love the idea of a Farmers Market, they love it.
Why is that? What’s so great about a bunch of stands versus the clean, indoor, one stop shopping experience of a Supermarket?
I last visited a Farmers Market in Hertzliya (just North of Tel Aviv) several months ago. The farmers were upbeat, friendly and interested in engaging us, their customers in discussion, telling us about their produce. Their passion and expert knowledge was incredible and the produce was well-priced and delicious.
We left the market having bought much more than we anticipated and were happy for every shekel we spent. Not just because we felt we were directly supporting our farmers.
Recently I have been meeting with various highly skilled professionals in my home town of Modiin. Some at Tweetups, other times we get together for coffee at our favorite bakeries and coffee shops to bounce ideas off each other and simply to catch up with our respective successes and occasional frustrations.
It occurred to me that many of the benefits of the Farmers Market model are applicable to choosing local, skilled talent over other alternatives e.g. Offshore.
Google, Bing, Yahoo and niche local Search resources/ sites like Yelp have focused on this and other Web Applications in the Locational niche like Foursquare or even Facebook Places allow the user to access relevant local data.
Having met skilled, local professionals in the fields of Web Design, SEO, Marcom, Technical Writing and other fields I can honestly say that I would, if needed use their services over many of the non-local competition in a second. This is not some chauvinistic, provincial partisan attitude. Like the Farmers Market choosing these people works well for many reasons form what I can see: –
Local knowledge and often a deeper cultural and geographical awareness.
Transport costs and implicitly a better chance at more frequent face to face meetings / collaboration.
Investing in my own “ecosystem” to ensure sustainable growth of these resources.
Maintaining and using indigenous resources.
This may fly in the face of the concept of the internet, real-time web and VOIP / Video as the great equalizers to physical distance and geographical challenge but I believe the idea is sound, how about you?