If you would of said that I would be managing a farmers market last year I would of thought you were crazy. The chance arose quite suddenly to function as the manager of our local farmers market. I am no expert on how best to run a farmers market, but the following are very important concepts to think about if you are thinking of starting a farmers market for the community or taking over one as a manager.
Before you even commence to formulate your location, vendors, layout, marketing strategies you need to have a table of directors. This board could be the governing entity of your market. You will need folks who are experienced in urban planning, business, the agricultural scene, and active together with your community. It is also a good idea to talk to other farmers markets; how did they start their market? What advice do they've? Would they be willing to help you? When you have your board members selected, you will need to come up with a mission for the market. What do you are a symbol of? What would you like your community to achieve by your presence?
You can't have a farmers market without vendors. The type of vendor for the market really depends on your location. In Asheville, artisan vendors don't do great. Produce vendors those would be the vendors you want. You'll need to ensure that they're not totally all selling exactly the same crops. Variety is key. At our market we have five produce vendors. All of them have different items for sale. With the brand new craze of food trucks, it would be a good plan to recruit one or many for the market. My market is a smaller farmers market and I found that it's best to attempt to reach out to food trucks which are just starting out. Those which have been around for a longer time period may consider your market - if it's on the little scale or just setting up - a waste of these time because they could not make what they would consider to be a good profit for his or her time.
Marketing is a deal. Based off data the best way to market is using social media marketing; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram,etc. They're valuable assets to any business. You can also use Google Business to let people know about your market. Social networking posts are free, that will be great if you are just starting out. Once you obtain your market sustainable cash flow, you can look into boosting posts on Facebook and Twitter. Both Facebook and Twitter give you to create your advertising budget which allows for less stress; once your budget has been spent the advertising stops until you reset it. Another good plan would be to partner up with local businesses which are ready to promote your market utilizing their social media. From my experience going and talking to local restaurants, breweries, kitchen supply stores that do food demos are typical great prospects.
Location! Location! Location! This is essential to farmers markets. This past year my market was behind a church within their parking lot. There clearly was no road visibility. We lacked clients due to no visibility Four Acre Wood Farm. Through the off season we worked diligently to discover a new location which was more visible, had walk ability, in addition to good parking. We're now partnering with an area business to utilize their parking lot which has road visibility, parking in addition to walk ability for the neighborhood. This move was a win-win for everyone involved. Our customers are now their customers, and their customers are now our customers.
If you intend to start your personal farmers market here are a few resources to think about reviewing before starting the process. There's a class you can take through the Farmers Market Federation of NY, Cornell University Cooperative Extension of Broome County and SUNY Cobleskill and funded by NYS's Fresh Connect Program. This program costs $200, after taking the certification course you would have been a certified Farmers Market Manager. It's an online course. I intend on taking it in the near future. Another great resource is ASAP. They've a section specialized in how to become a farmers market manager with Powerpoint slides, PDF's on farmers market rules and regulations. The very best part is that this can be a free resource.