Starting a Farmers' Market

What you need to know about starting a farmers’ market.

| June 2013

You will find a complete guide to living a simpler, more sustainable life in Self-Sufficiency (Skyhorse Publishing, 2010). Author Abigail R. Gehring offers practical advice as well as step-by-step instructions on hundreds of self-sufficient projects. In this excerpt taken from part one, “The Family Garden,” discover what you need to know before starting a farmers’ market in your community. 

You can purchase this book from the GRIT store: Self-Sufficiency.

More from Self-Sufficiency:

What You Need to Know About Planting a Tree 
All About Goats 

Farmers’ markets are an integral part of the urban–farm linkage and have continued to rise in popularity, mostly due to growing consumer interest in obtaining fresh products directly from the farm. Farmers’ markets allow consumers to have access to locally grown, farm-fresh produce, enable farmers the opportunity to develop a personal relationship with their customers, and cultivate consumer loyalty with the farmers who grow the produce. Direct marketing of farm products through farmers’ markets continues to be an important sales outlet for agricultural producers nationwide. Today, there are more than 4,600 farmers’ markets operating throughout the nation.

Who Benefits from Farmers’ Markets?

• Small farm operators: Those with less than $250,000 in annual receipts who work and manage their own operations meet this definition (94 percent of all farms).
• Farmers and consumers: Farmers have direct access to markets to supplement farm income. Consumers have access to locally grown, farm-fresh produce and the opportunity to personally interact with the farmer who grows the produce.
• The community: Many urban communities — where fresh, nutritious foods are scarce — gain easy access to quality food. Farmers’ markets also help to promote nutrition education, wholesome eating habits, and better food preparation, as well as boosting the community’s economy.

Starting a Farmers’ Market

A farmers’ market is a great place for new gardeners to learn what sorts of produce customers want, and it also promotes wonderful community relationships between the growers and the buyers. If you have a well-established garden, and know a few other people who also have fruits, vegetables, and even garden flowers to spare, you may want to consider organizing and implementing your own local farmers’ market (if your town or city already has an established farmers’ market, you may want to go visit it one day and ask the farmers how you could join, or contact your local Cooperative Extension Service for more information). Joining existing farmers’ markets may require that you pay an annual fee, and your produce may also be subject to inspection and other rules established by the market’s organization or the local government.

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