Tips on Starting a Farmers Market
Americans treasure the delicious fruits and vegetables grown by local family farms. In fact, more than a million customers visit farmers markets each week, and that number is growing as more and more communities bring a farmers market to their locale. If you want to start a farmers market in your area, these tips will help.
- Talk it over. Check with people in your community-neighbors, owners of open spaces, community leaders, and others-to determine if there is widespread interest in creating a farmers market. Form an organization to spearhead your effort, or join forces with a local environmental group or community association.
- Find a spot. Choose a parking lot, open field, or town green where trucks can unload easily and where customers can park and walk around freely. Parking lots at establishments that are closed on weekends, such as banks, libraries, or schools are worth exploring.
- Obey the law. Check with your parks department and town officials to secure any permits that may be required.
- Recruit farmers. Contact your state agriculture department, the cooperative extension service, and the farm bureau for lists of local farmers who might be willing to participate. Visit other farmers markets to recruit.
- Set guidelines. Some markets only sell regionally grown produce and food products made by local vendors. Check with other farmers markets in your region to help set your guidelines.
- Publicize. Let people know you exist by distributing posters, flyers, banners, and radio public service announcements. Call local television, radio, and newspaper reporters.
- Hold a special event. Display farm animals, set up a compost demonstration, or sponsor a talk by a master gardener or chef to strengthen the market's community connection.
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