Farmers' Market Resources

Vermont Farmers Markets - PLEASE take the time to fill out the 2013 Vermont Farmers' Market Survey by January 21, 2014.  A print copy of this survey is also available by contacting us at 434-4122.

Market resources are arranged by category:

 

General Resources

This manual covers a broad range of topics relevant to starting and operating a farmers’ market in Vermont. It is available in print or as a free download.

Do you have questions that you wish you could ask other farmers’ market managers? Maybe you have a tip you would like to share with other markets. Join hundreds of market coordinators from around the country on this listserv to access a superb networking opportunity

The VTFMA-L is a free listserv, which allows subscribers to post messages to one address and then distributes them to all the subscribers, as well as allows users to search on specific market topics.  Visit vtfma.org and sign up in the bottom left corner.

In the winter 2012-2013 session, the VTFMA board created a series of best practices documents to guide the work of Vermont farmers' markets.  These documents are intended as guides, not standards.  The intention of the VTFMA is to promote ideas for marketing, governance, and safety practices that if followed will help your markets thrive. 

Follow this blog for informal news and opinions about public markets from marketumbrella.org. You can either read the blog online or subscribe and have it sent to your email.

NOFA Vermont hosts a Direct Marketing Conference every January to provide a networking and educational opportunity focused on direct to consumer marketing.  The target audience of the conference includes producers who sell through CSA programs, farmers’ markets, and farm stands, and farmers’ market managers and board members. 

The Building Capacity project provides an integrated program of education and technical assistance to build leadership in Vermont’s nonprofits, community boards and committees, and local commissions.  All of these entities do so much of the work that sustains the quality of life for Vermonters.  Our efforts focus on an innovative virtual toolbox of leadership and capacity skills organized around learning modules delivered online.  We provide entry-level skills that can be completed alone or combined into larger, more in-depth programs.

 


Insurance and Governance Resources

Thank you to Jeff Cole of the Federation of Massachusetts Farmers Markets for preparing and sharing this presentation on creating a safer market environment. Understanding risk management and farmers’ market insurance is essential for all market managers, board members, and vendors. 

This document provides a brief overview of different types of insurance available to farmers’ markets and market vendors. It also has a short list of insurance companies that offer plans for farmers’ markets and vendors in Vermont.

Thanks to Jim LeFevre of LeFevre & Associates for sharing this powerpoint about building the right board for your market. You will find an overview of the stages of board development and ideas to consider when developing your board.

This 'Farmers Market Management Skills' resource produced by the University of California UC Farm Center provides an overiew of different types of boards, the responsibilities of the board of directors, manager's relationship to the board, and strategies for strengthening the board.

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Evaluation and Planning Resources

Prepared by Monika Roth at Cornell Cooperative Extension, this form provides an easy tool for evaluating your market’s accessibility and appearance. This form is included on the Shared Wisdom DVD, which is available at the NOFA-VT bookstore.

Thanks to Rose Wilson of Rosalie J. Wilson Business Development Services for preparing this tool, which is designed to help track and plan markets’ financial progress.

RMA is a three part tool designed to give markets a snapshot look at various market characteristics including customer counts, accessibility/appearance of market, and customer preferences. This link contains examples of RMA reports and RMA questions in addition to overviews of how to conduct an RMA. 

Tracking your market’s cumulative gross sales provides essential information about the success of your market. This tool provides a simple, anonymous method for collecting vendor sales info.

 


Broadening the Market Community

This brochure outlines ways in which farmers' markets benefit communities, and ways that municipatilies can support and improve their local farmers' markets.

This report provides a look at a number of case studies from markets across the country that have used innovative community connections to strengthen the market.

This tool provides easy to use charts detailing different ways to engage more community stakeholders in your market’s success.

From the Project for Public Spaces, this guide explains how and why to set up and promote SNAP/EBT acceptance at farmers' markets.



Promotion, Marketing, and Special Events:

Thanks to Pam Knights of Pam Knights Communications for sharing this powerpoint about creating and communicating your market’s (or farm business’) brand. You will find an overview of marketing materials plus how to use web tools like Facebook and Google.

Thanks to Nicole Fenton of Flavor Communications for sharing this powerpoint about planning and measuring your marketing. You will find an overview of marketing strategies, tools such as social media, and ways to evaluate your marketing.

Effective signage is one of the MOST important tools to hosting a successful farmers’ market. This tool discusses signage best practices and provides examples of excellent farmers’ market signs from around the state.

The 2009 sign law regarding farmers' markets that are members of the VTFMA passed by the Vermont State Legislature.

This publication from ATTRA-National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service--can help farmers and ranchers take advantage of the Internet both to sell products and to promote their businesses.  It has tips for getting started with such popular platforms as Facebook and Twitter and strategies for using them effectively. It also discusses blogging, website marketing, and other options, and it uses profiles of a number of operations as examples of what can be done.

Hosting a youth vendor day at your market is a great way to engage a new set of customers.  The links above provide information on how to organize a successful youth vendor day and a flyer that you can use as a template to advertise your event!

 

Vendor Resources

Prepared by Monika Roth at Cornell Cooperative Extension, this DVD is available at the NOFA-VT bookstore, or some portions are available for download at the link above.

A free downloadable issue of the magazine Growing For Market which focuses on improving your market display and sales.

This 1 hour webinar features farmers' market consultant Sue Johnson and representatives from the VT Dept of Health, VT Agency of Agriculture.  It covers basic vending regulations and best practices.  

University of Vermont Extension has launched an on-line price reporting system for direct-marketed vegetables, berries and bedding plants. All commercial growers who sell at direct markets in Vermont are invited to participate.  Growers can enter prices by following this link.

This is a guide to price-setting at farmers' markets and beyond. It was developed by India Farmer at the Rutland Area Farm and Food Link with new farmers in mind, but offers great advice to any producer struggling with how to set prices.

From The Project for Public Spaces, this handbook is available as a PDF download for $15 or in hard copy for $32.25.

Regulations and Laws:
This guide provides an overview of Vermont laws and regulations that all vendors should be familiar with.
This guide directs prepared food vendors on safe food handling practices and applicable state laws and regulations.
This guide is relevant for agricultural vendors selling food by weight and has information about meat labelling.
In this webinar, Sue Johnson discusses why risk management is important at farmers' markets, common risky practices, and best practices for addressing these issues; Mike Mitchell of the Agency of Agriculture discusses agricultural regulations including weights and measures, labeling, and temperatures; and Elisabeth Wirsing of the Department of Health discusses food handling and regulations at farmers’ markets. Click here to watch a recording of the webinar.