a Farmers Market
Missouri Extension offers an online
resource guide for starting a new farmers' market or
improving an existing market. The guide is focused on farmers' market
organizers in Missouri, but also provides useful information for market
developers in any state, province or country.
and Operating a Farmers' Market
Most farmers' markets start as an idea. A group of local growers, a
neighborhood association, the local chamber of commerce, or in some
cases a single individual, realizes the benefits of starting a farmers'
market in their community. From this initial idea connections are made,
meetings are held, and the farmers' market begins to materialize.
During the early stages of the market's creation, when initial
conversations and meetings are taking place, try to answer the
following questions to help the market get off to a good start:
the feasibility of a new farmers' market is crucial. Try to thoroughly
evaluate the interest among local growers, consumers, local businesses,
government agencies and organizations before proceeding to the next
step. Evaluate local retail competition and community demographics. To
gain input from a wider audience and uncover unforeseen objections or
support, place ads in local newspapers or hold public meetings. If time
and funding permit, a formal feasibility study can be conducted.
Starting a new market is generally justified if you have firm
commitments from six growers and you expect to attract at least 100
customers on each market day.
- Is starting a new
farmers' market feasible?
some cases, growers take a lead role in creating and running a market.
In other cases, local governments, nonprofit organizations, chambers of
commerce or a new entity is formed to organize a new market. Regardless
of who starts and operates the market, it is important to involve a
wide range of individuals, organizations and businesses to make use of
existing talents and resources in the community, resolve disputes and
share the workload.
- Who will sponsor
defining the market's purpose or mission is perhaps the most important
task for market organizers. Typically, farmers' markets are created
with the primary purpose of serving local growers and consumers,
although it is widely recognized that farmers' markets also help
improve and revitalize downtowns and neighborhoods, provide a safe
place for people to gather and socialize, and improve access to fresh
food, among other things. However, a farmers' market will not succeed
unless growers are able to make a profit, despite the good intentions
of market organizers to promote other goals.
- What is the purpose of the market?
University of Missouri Extension
a Successful Farmers Market
Staffing, marketing and location are three main factors that play an
important role in the success of any farmers' market.
farmers markets are staffed by volunteers, it is important to
find volunteers who are committed to the market.
a location that is visible and convenient for shoppers, ideally a
high-traffic area, with adequate space and handicapped accessible. Work
with city, county and township officials, and local businesses.
Some locations may charge rent, while other can be utilized
free of charge. Some communities will allow a street to be closed on
certain days and certain times to accommodate the farmers market. Some
businesses will also host farmers markets within their location.
Sell your market. Developing a mission and vision statement that
outlines the market’s purpose and the types of products it
allows is important for attracting consumers as well as vendors.
While developing your market plan, don't forget that developing a
relationship with your customers is important. Shoppers are not only
looking for fresh, local foods, they also want to know the person
behind the produce.
Invest in attractive displays, such as brochures, signs, and fact
sheets to attract customers. Offer recipes or nutritional information
on the products being sold..
Be mindful of your city’s laws and regulations. Invest in
product and liability insurance and follow the rules and regulations
set forth by your local health department and Department of
University South Center's Business Development Network
Rules and By-Laws
Developing a market's rules and by-laws are very important in
structuring and organizing. By establishing good rules and
regulations, you will not only keep vendors happy, but
minimize conflicts. Elements include:
steps (from Starting
a Seasonal Open-Air Market in Kansas):
- Hours and Days of
- Who Can and
Cannot Sell at the Market
- Market Fees
- Stall Assignments
- Required Vendor
- Penalties for
Noncompliance with Market Rules
- Market Manager as
- Legal structure
- Form a market
a nonprofit organization.
- Develop business
and marketing plans for the market.
- Develop the rules
and regulations for the market
- Select an
appropriate location for the market
- Promote the market
- Research local,
state and federal regulations.
Air Markets Directory
American Farmers Markets
for Farmers' Markets
How to Lease a Booth
Farmer's Market Online