Farmers markets start as an idea. A few local growers, a community group, the local Chamber of Commerce, or even a single individual realizes the benefits of having a farmers market in their own community. Once this idea has taken root, planning can begin. This manual was not created to be a step-by-step process, because we recognize that each process will be unique.
Instead, use this as a reference manual. This is not intended to be used in a perfect order, the process of creating a farmers market is dynamic—the steps are often interchangeable and may overlap. One person might be working on filing for permits while another creates a market logo. We suggest that you scan through these pages. Then, get started searching for like-minded individuals in your community. Revisit the pages as questions and topics develop for the new market. Established markets can use this manual to help strengthen the weak areas of their market. Search the pages for ideas and inspiration for the market in your community.
This manual is intended to be used by farmers market directors, managers, and organizers to copy portions of the manual that pertain to the needs of their farmers market. This may be an entire chapter, worksheets, sample forms, or a fact sheet. For example, the fact sheet “Guidelines for serving samples at the market” may be copied and distributed to each vendor.
Whether you are founding a new market or improving an established one, the process is sure to be rewarding and exciting. Good luck!
This publication was supported in part by the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program at the U.S. Department of Agriculture through grant 12-25-B-1487. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the USDA.