Big farmers markets as touchpoints for community information and organizations
One of the advantages of only having a few farmers markets in a community is that they can be really good and highly attended. DC has so many farmers markets that many are pretty small. Although some, being in denser areas, get a lot of attendance (Columbia Heights, Dupont Circle, etc.).
Cities like Baltimore and Salt Lake tend to have a handful of public markets, which means that a couple are really really big and end up being regular community events.
The Downtown Salt Lake Farmers Market on Saturdays is one such event. It's in Pioneer Park, which is massive (a 10 acre block) and to "fill it up" it's also a crafts market, has prepared food vendors, etc.
It also has a fair number of community organizations, sometimes government agencies, that exhibit as well, taking advantage of the large volume of attendees to get their message out.
Salt Lake County Bicycle Ambassadors booth at the Downtown Salt Lake City Saturday Farmers Market
Booth promoting the creation of a Wasatch Food Cooperative, Downtown Salt Lake City Saturday Farmers Market
There were many such booths on Saturday including the group trying to create the Wasatch Food Cooperative, the good government group Alliance for a Better Utah, an affiliate of ProgressNow, a regional political engagement movement based in Colorado, but with affiliates across the country (which is an organization I hadn't heard of), Salt Lake County's Bicycle Ambassador Program, KUED, the NPR affiliate, the Wasatch Film Festival, of course the SNAP nutrition education promotion program of the State Agriculture Extension program out of the University of Utah, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, the Utah Animal Rights Coalition, promoting a vegan diet, and others.
Sometimes, you see such groups at farmers markets in DC, but very rarely.
Given the increasing difficulties of mass public communication at the community scale in the face of the decline of community media such as newspapers, the lack of coverage of such organizations in broadcast media, and the atomization of communication via social media, "special events" such as festivals and farmers markets become an important way to reach people concerning various civic matters, for social marketing (public health, nutrition, biking as transportation, environment), etc.