For the Market Manager
In 2016 the Michigan Farmers Market Association conducted a study of roles, responsibilities, compensation and education of farmers market managers in Michigan. The purpose of the study was to gather baseline information on compensation of market managers and the effectiveness of educational programs to professionalize the role of farmers market manager. They also defined farmers markets by size and characteristics; identified the roles and duties of market managers; looked at vendor fees and revenue; and defined managers job duties, responsibilities; along with compensation and benefits for market managers. The results of the study are published in Michigan Farmers Market Managers, Roles, Responsibilities, Compensation & Education.
Being a market manager is not for everyone. Market managers need specific skills to be successful at the job and some of the skills can be learned, but most are perhaps just inherent. Fortunately, there are several state farmers market associations that have developed resources to help the farmers market manager get organized, and they provide useful guides, templates, videos and toolkits that help market managers get the job done!
Washington State Farmers Market Association has gathered resources for the market managers under the Mighty Market Manager including human resource documents, sample market manager job descriptions and job announcements, manager contracts, and compensation, which may be helpful.
The go-to for all things farmers market including all that a market manager will need to be successful is The New York Farmers Market Training Manual, which is referenced widely by other state farmers market association toolkits.
The Iowa Farmers Market Managers Toolkit (2017-2019) is written by market managers for market managers and includes a comprehensive farmers market manager handbook, vendor handouts, and online trainings each highlighting experienced market managers and vendors, who offer their expertise and insights on all things farmers markets.
Recruiting Farmers for Your Farmers Market
From the Farmers Market Coalition, Recruiting Members for a Farmers Market, is an in-depth guide from developed by the Wallace Center on how to recruit the right vendors for your farmers market. Definitely a resource that can help a new market manager recruit vendors and get the market going, but also a good resource for the seasoned market manager wanting to increase number of vendors or type of vendors.
From the Virginia Farmers Market Association, Tips for Recruiting Vendors provides ideas the process of recruiting, such as where to post such as using your website, creating flyers, and spreading the word via key contacts.
Washington State Farmers Market Association has developed Recruiting Farmers to Your Market, a guide on what how to assess your needs, including know your market; know what you are looking for in a farm vendor; and tips on where to seek out farmers by “hone your farmer radar!”
Evaluating Your Vendors
Farmers Market Coalition shares a useful Vendor Evaluation Form from the New York Farmers Market Federation, which market managers may use to assess new vendors and help them meet the farmers market standards. Also, market managers could use the vendor evaluation form to assess all your vendors once each market season. A summary of the vendor evaluations can help market managers determine the markets strengths and areas which need improvement.
Keeping Your Cool and Being Available
Just a few quick tips for over-worked, over-stressed market managers from the Virginia Farmers Market Association in Keeping Your Cool and Being available! Even if you just use as a reminder that there are other market managers out there that have been through it all!
Effective Communication in a Multicultural Marketplace
From the Washington Farmers Market Association, Effective Communication in a Multicultural Marketplace, is an excellent introductory tool to help you understand today’s diverse farmers market culture.
Farmers Market Staff and Volunteers
Having reliable, dependable market staff and volunteers is critical to the success of a farmers market. The Farmers Market Coalition has tips on how to find and keep good volunteers in Market Manger FAQ.
In Farmers Market Volunteers, the Washington Farmers Market Association shares with market managers jobs for volunteers; how to recruit volunteers; and how to retain volunteers, along with administrative tips.
Sponsored by Market Umbrella, market day: Recruiting and managing volunteers is part of their Marketshare program, which works to cultivate the field of public markets for public good. Marketshares are free documents (“shares”) that are the best of “lessons learned” from public markets everywhere and when it comes to volunteers, they share tips and best practices on recruiting, managing and recognizing volunteers that help make farmers markets the success they are!
The Farmers Market Federation of New York has the Friends of the Market Toolkit which contains: Friends of the Market (PDF); Volunteer Management (PDF); and a Volunteer Interest Form (PDF). All useful tool for recruiting and managing volunteers.
Market Rules and Policies
Understanding market rules, policies and procedures and why they are important to have in place for any farmers market is critical to the success of all farmers markets. Each farmers market is unique and rules and policies should align with the farmers, vendors, volunteers, entertainment, sponsors, and clubs, and businesses that participate in the farmers market weekly or as one-day vendor.
Under Market Rules and Procedures, Farmers Market Legal Toolkit helps market managers understand the need for rules and policies, the risks possible, and how to manage the risks. This is definitely the go-to resource for all market managers when it comes to rules and procedures!
Under Market Policies, the Farmers Market Coalition also shares with market managers policies that a market manager should consider; how to select the right vendors – farmer, artisan, food vendor – for their market and how to write policies that are appropriate for the vendors at market; and how to enforce the policies that are in place.
From the Public Health Law Center (St. Paul, MN) the Farmers’ Market Vendor and Market Rules (2014) comes this assessment of vendor and market rules providing a variety of policies compiled from nine farmers market handbooks across Kansas. Written with through a legal lens, it is a general guide to the different operational rules a farmers market might want to consider implementing with the understanding that a farmers market will have to adapt the policies based on their own unique local and legal needs.
Market Umbrella and the Crescent City Farmers Market share their market Rules and Regulations, no-nonsense list of guidelines which is a good starting point for developing your farmers market rules and regs for equity, clarity, and transparency. Also check out Market Basics, which outlines the rules vendors must follow.
Did you know that the USDA runs a farmers market outside the USDA headquarters in Washington, DC?
For market managers who run farmers markets for municipalities, check out the Complete Guide to Farmers Market Rules and Operating Guidelines from the USDA Developed for Their Farmers Markets Along the East Coast (2019), which covers rules, procedures and operating guidelines for the USDA farmers market! This comprehensive guide includes who is allowed to sell at the farmers market (farmer, rancher, grower, or producer) and how far they are permitted to travel from (200-mile radius). Everything in this guide is outlined precisely from – the food safety rules to be followed which comply with the 2017 FDA Food Code, to all products sold at market must have a minimum of 75% of ingredients by item (not weight) sourced directly from farmers, rancher or grower from the Chesapeake Bay region to the market’s gleaning policy where all food donations go to the DC Kitchen.