We have compiled a list of local and regional resources...
for everyone from the next generation home owner to the growing business. It is our goal for everyone to enjoy all the benefits that are available. These resources are designed to help maintain and grow our communities.
What is a farmers market?
A farmers market is a recurring assembly of farmers or their representatives that sell their own agricultural products, such as fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, poultry, dairy products, and grains, directly to the general public.
Why start a farmers market?
In addition to providing locally-grown produce at the peak of freshness and nutrient availability, farmers markets help facilitate personal connections that create mutual benefits for local farmers, shoppers, and communities. They create jobs and bring business to neighboring stores and communities.
How is a farmers market established?
There are various factors to consider when deciding to start a farmers market including:
Interest - A steering committee, comprised of a cross-section of community members such as farmers, local business and municipal leaders, key professional people (lawyers, accountants), and consumers, should start by examining the community and farmer interest in and ability to support a farmers market. Consider conducting a feasibility survey to study the issue.
Goals - Research the successes and failures of other markets to gain an understanding of what might work best in the community. Develop a market mission statement and goals to accomplish.
Legalities - Search out legal requirements for operating a farmers market and secure necessary permits, licenses, and insurance.
Logistics - Establish the market season, including days and times of operation, taking into consideration the seasonal availability of the goods the local farmers can provide. Determine the market size (number of booth spaces for known and potential vendors), and evaluate potential market locations, design layout, and availability of bathroom facilities. Secure garbage cans and pickup, park benches, and traffic barriers.
Organization - Establish a governance structure for the market to include incorporation and creating bylaws. This could mean forming a non-profit entity (such as a 501c3, c4, or c6), becoming part of an umbrella non-profit organization, forming a limited liability corporation, or just establishing an informal advisory board. Market rules and regulations should also be developed.
Financial issues - Establish a market budget, and identify potential funding sources, such as grants, sponsorships and booth fees. Hire a market manager to be the primary decision-maker during market hours. This person will also be responsible for collecting vendor fees and handling vendor issues and customer complaints.
Promotion - Establish an advertising and promotions plan to create community awareness of the market. This should include utilizing a mix of media such as fliers, newspaper and radio ads, press releases, as well as websites and social media.
Vendors - Recruit farmers and other vendors, assuring a diverse product mix. Hold a vendor meeting to introduce the new market, and develop a vendor application/agreement.
Evaluation - Perform continuous evaluation of the market to ensure its mission is being met, goals are being accomplished, and that it's financially stable.
Consult the "Resources" section below before getting started with developing a farmers market.