Advance Planning: This lists many of the items that should be decided at the start of the market program:

  • Bringing together persons/groups to help organize the markets
  • Identifying sponsor
  • Developing market organizing committee.
  • Identifying and securing market site: making land use agreements
  • Generating local business support and local community support
  • Dealing with competition and possible business or community opposition
  • Outreach to farmers to announce market
  • Developing a budget
  • Identifying sources of funds, materials, equipment, etc.
  • Develop a schedule

Schedule: This establishes a timetable for setting up each farmers' market. This timetable covers activities described in this plan, including:

  • Outreach to farmers; farmer information about the farmers' market
  • Opening and closing dates for the season
  • Preparation of promotional materials
  • Preparing sites and facilities
  • Developing materials for farmer training
  • Promotion and public relations


  • State assistance (Department of Agriculture)
  • Local assistance
  • Private assistance
  • Farmers fees
  • Other

Market Site/Location: The location needs to take many factors into account:

  • Proximity to other businesses or activity
  • Population density, types
  • Zoning rules
  • Landscaping
  • Parking
  • Neighborhood attractiveness
  • Size needs - number of farmers and parking
  • Potential for expansion
  • Layout
  • Visibility
  • Access, transportation options
  • Traffic movement
  • Maintenance and safety
  • Storage of materials
  • Availability, times/schedules
  • Location of other (competing) produce outlets
  • Structural qualities - eg., ground surface, fencing, etc. - renovations
  • Restrooms, food, water, telephone for farmers
  • Weather protection - rain, heat/sun
  • Legal permits
  • Handicap access
  • Other activities - e.g., music, crafts, displays, food demonstrations

Market Budget: This establishes the cost of setting up the markets and running them for the first year.

  • Site cost - if any
  • Publicity and advertising - signs, posters, media, etc.
  • Personnel - market manager
  • Supplies - banner, signs, etc.
  • Insurance, permits, etc.

Market Organization: Planning or Steering Committee:

  • Market organizational structure - formal or informal; for-profit or non-profit or cooperative, partnership; or incorporated
  • Committee composition
  • Role of farmers
  • Selecting the market manager
  • Participation of neighboring community/businesses
  • Structure, rules/by-laws
  • Responsibilities
  • Chairperson
  • Meetings

Farmers' Market Operation: This covers the day-to-day running of the markets:


  • Dates of operation - length of season
  • Number of days per week
  • Hours open


  • Sponsor agency or group
  • Staff - market manager, volunteers - responsibilities
  • Selecting market manager, setting responsibilities
  • Market steering committee - functions

Operations: (market manager)

  • Setting-up and closing the market
  • Putting up banners and signs
  • Number of farmers and their stall positions
  • Collecting fees
  • Resolving issues such as price, stall locations, eligible foods, etc.
  • Cleaning and upkeep/maintenance and repair
  • Enforcing guidelines
  • Banking arrangements

Determining Products for Sale: This defines what can be sold and whom; and what is excluded:

  • Unprocessed foods: - Fruits and vegetables, dairy, eggs, meats and poultry
  • Processed foods: - Baked goods, honey, jams, other prepared or processed foods
  • Non-foods: - Plants, nursery items, flowers, crafts, other non-foods; Public information, other booths with information

Source of foods:

  • Sell what you grow only.
  • Cooperative or consignment sales

Rules and Guidelines: These are needed to establish how the market will be operated with standard rules for everyone and is important to help the market manager run a smooth market:

Market organization:

  • Hours of operation
  • Entry/exit


  • Farmer eligibility to sell at the market
  • Stall assignments
  • Display
  • Eligible products

Market operations regulations:

  • Establishing duties of market manager and staff
  • Setting and collecting fees
  • Weights and measures
  • Liability insurance
  • Taxes, licenses
  • Health code requirements
  • Cleanliness, trash disposal

Other Services:

  • Food Stamps
  • Farmers' Market Coupons

Enforcing guidelines:

  • Enforcement procedures and penalties
  • Short-term or emergency decisions

Promotion: This describes the various ways the market can be publicized:

  • Publicity budget
  • Banners
  • Flyers, brochures
  • Posters
  • Radio or TV
  • Newspaper
  • Other methods (bumper stickers)
  • Stories, press releases, Public Service Announcements
  • Special events - music, festivals, etc.
  • Public Relations with neighboring merchants
  • Chamber of commerce, or business associations
  • Mailings
  • Coupon discounts
  • Contacting other groups and businesses.