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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.

Establish Guidelines

  • 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
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