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Farmers Market Business Idea

Want to learn how to start a farmers market? In historical times, public markets were a mainstay of daily life. With the advent of modern farming methods and grocery superstores, most of these public and farmers markets were forced out of business. But farmers markets have recently experienced a surge in popularity for a number of good reasons.

The “locavore” or local foods movement and the growth in demand for natural and organic foods have contributed to this increase. In fact, the number of farmers markets in the United States has more than doubled from 1994 to 2005, and the number is still increasing.

If you are thinking about how to start a farmers market in your area, there are a number of things you should consider.

Learning How To Start A Farmers Market

To start the process, spend some time conducting research in the area you are considering for a farmers market. Talk to local business owners as well as chambers of commerce and the county and local government offices. Tell them you are researching how to start a farmers market and are seeking information.

You will likely be able to garner support for your farmers market and at the same time learn about potential locations, zoning laws, and licensing information. The more local support you have, the more smoothly your venture will proceed.

Location will be one of your primary decisions as you learn about how to start a farmers market. The location must be convenient for both customers and vendors to access. In addition, make sure potential locations allow for adequate parking. Other recreational facilities nearby are an added draw that can bring more customers to your new market.

The location of your farmers market has insurance implications, as well. Compare insurance quotes for different potential locations to help you decide the best spot for your new venture.

“Staffing” Your Farmers Market

Once you have selected a location, it’s time to begin recruiting local farmers to sell their wares at the market. Locate farmers through the Department of Agriculture or your state’s Farm Bureau, as well as the Cooperative Extension Service. Another excellent method you can use to find and recruit farmers is to visit other nearby farmers markets.

Try to arrange for a large enough number of farmers to commit to your market so that there will be a variety of items for sale. Customers like farmers markets that offer a wide selection of different types of local produce and food items. You can even attract local artisans to sell their handicraft items.

The determination of what to charge farmers at your market is one of the trickier aspects when you consider how to start a farmers market. On one hand, you want the farmers to view your market as a profitable place for them to sell their products, but on the other hand, you need to make enough money to cover the costs of your location, insurance, licensing, and advertising.

Some farmers markets charge vendors a fixed daily fee each time they operate at the market, while others charge a monthly fee regardless of whether the farmer sells there one day or ten days in a given month. It’s often a good idea to appoint a Board of Directors for your farmers market who can help to make these difficult decisions.

Promoting Your Farmer’s Market

Advertising and promoting your new farmers market is key to its ongoing success. Be sure to take advantage of as much free advertising as possible. For example, local newspapers will likely want to run articles about the opening of your new market.

Colorful signs or banners at your market can help to draw the attention of passers-by. Strategically located sandwich boards are also a good way to advertise when learning how to start a farmers market.

Once you have your core farmers market up and running, you can look for ways to recruit more vendors, add more operating days, and investigate additional methods by which you can grow your business.

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