How to Start a Farmers Market or Country Market in your Area

Thinking of starting a farmers market or country market? Do you know where your local farmers market or country market should be held or the rules and regulations involved? Read our guide to learn what is needed and how to set up a farmers market in your area.

old farmers market

                        An Old Fashioned Farmers' Market

What are Farmers' Markets and Country Markets?

A Farmers Market or Country Markets are basically venues that have been created to allow farmers to sell their produce that they have grown or made, directly to the public. This may be in the form of fruit, vegetables, cheese, milk, butter, eggs, poultry, meat, pickles, jams, cakes and other produce that has been made on the farm. Country Markets also include country arts and crafts.

Some of these farm markets may have been very loosely formed by the producers themselves and others may have been set up through a governing body that monitors prices and the standards of produce for sale. One such governing body is FARMA in the UK. FARMA (Farmers' Retail & Marketing Association) encourages the sale of local produce but also issues certification as a show of excellence to those who make the grade and exhibit and sell at their markets.

Starting a Farmers Market: The Basics

Starting a country market means first do your homework! Make sure that when starting a farmers market or country market that you find out from your fellow farmers that there is both a need and a high level of enthusiasm and support for such a venture. For there is no point starting a farmers market, if there is not. Also make sure that there will be a variety of produce to choose from, from your farmers. No one wants to come to a market to find out that everyone is selling tomatoes! A slight exaggeration, I know, but I think you understand what I am saying. Variety is the spice of life, and will keep your regular buyers coming back for more.

Don't contravene any by-laws of your town, including getting permission from the council to hold the market in the first place. Trading licenses and getting the right insurance will all need to be applied for and approved before you can hold your first farmers' market. Make friends with your local council as they will play a big role in helping you run a successful market. Remember too, that with food you will also need to look into satisfying your local Health Department, especially if meat and poultry are being sold at your farmers' market.

Location! Location! Location! When starting a farmers market or country market make sure that you have high visibility and you are not tucked away on some back street where you will not get the passing traffic that will make up a large part of your sales. You need to be ideally on the main square of a town, or a main thoroughfare. You will also need to take into consideration any inclement weather, and to make sure that if it rains, both your vendors and your buyers will be protected. Lastly, make sure that there are some seating areas for those who want to sit and chat, or just take in the ambiance.

Advertise! Once you have sorted out the legalities in starting a farmers market , and have your venue and your vendors, then you need to get the trade. People will need to know that they can come and buy fresh produce when you intend to so make sure that you have advertised the time and venue of the event. This can be done through banners across main roads, posters at traffic lights, through your local newspapers and over the radio. When organizing your advertising campaign for your farmers' market, make sure that any banners and posters have been sanctioned by your local governing council.

Starting a country market is not something you can do overnight. However, once you are established it is a worthwhile achievement where local farmers are able to sell their produce, and buyers are getting fresh farm produce at reduced prices.

Supporting a local Farmers Markets is more important than you think. Not only are you getting fresh produce, but you are really helping to reduce the world's carbon footprint. What you have become is now known as a localvore. Read more on eco conscious biodiversity to see the benefits.

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