So you’d like to start a farmers market, but don’t know where to begin? We’ve outlined some basic steps to get you started.
Consider Your Community
Is there a need for the market? Are other markets nearby? Will those that live in your community shop at a market in addition to their current locations where they buy food? There are many ways to assess demand in a community and whether a market might be a welcomed addition, including:
- Community surveys
- Level of support from local government
Pick a Location & Dates
- Survey other area markets, times and dates to find an opportunity to fill an unmet need
- Choose dates that you want to hold the market – check what other markets are nearby and local community calendars to avoid conflicts
- Consider traffic patterns and public transportation – not only whether it is accessible but also the schedule of service
- Make sure that you can hold a market in your chosen location; confirm with the property owner and/or area agency for zoning
Designate a Market Manager
- Choose a point of contact, which is crucial as you set up arrangements with farmers.
- Plan to have a person on site every market day for the duration of the market and ½ hour before market opening and ½ hour after market close.
- Farmer and Vendor application and agreement – these are the most important way for you to communicate expectations regarding the market policies as well as clearly establish the repercussions for infractions of the rules
- Market rules and policies – need to be clear and actionable; they can be part of the Farmer/Vendor Agreement or a separate document and should take into account applicable Regulations
Recruit Your Farmers & Vendors
- Confirm they have the necessary permits and licenses
- Find farmers that are seeking new markets – one resource is Maryland’s Best under “Find Me Local” Choose the “Looking to Add Farmers Markets” under the Search by Category section
- Post an announcement on our blog or via our social media sites advertising your search for vendors
Plan Your Opening Day
- Check out our page for promoting farmers markets
- Contact local media and outlets that would be interested in covering your opening market day
- Plan an event or try to attract a speaker to draw a crowd