Written by Sierra Blachford under the direction and review of Chris Zdorovtsov (former SDSU Extension Community Vitality Field Specialist).
Form a Planning Team
The first step to forming a new farmers market is to form a planning team. Keep the team small enough so that it is simple, small and manageable.
The planning team should be composed of 5-7 people who are:
- Willing to put forth their best effort
- Good communicators
- Able to find resources within the community
- Able to develop or utilize connections within the community
The planning team should include a variety of individuals with a range of backgrounds:
- Food or beverage producers
- Potential market vendors
- Potential market customers
- Members of community boards; example, Chamber of Commerce
- Members of community organizations; examples, FFA, Kiwanis, Jaycees, non-profits
Resources for Assistance
The planning team may feel the need to seek assistance from an outside source. One resource available for farmers markets in this situation is SDSU Extension. SDSU Extension provides a variety of assistance for farmers markets. Interested groups should contact the Community Vitality Field Specialists for help or information regarding Farmers markets. In the past, SDSU Extension has helped launch a number of markets in South Dakota.
SDSU Extension can serve as a coach to the new market. The goal of the coaching role is to assist and guide the planning team throughout the process of forming a new market, or in addressing changes in their current market. The coach role doesn’t manage or lead the market, the coach simply provides assistance when needed. Additional resources include agencies or organizations within the community or state that are involved in economic or community vitality such as the SD Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crops Division, Dakota Rural Action, and others.
The farmers market in Sisseton, South Dakota was formed by using a planning team and meetings. Read about their experience forming a committee to start their community farmers market in the article Market Profile: Starting a Farmers Market with a Committee.