WV Small Farm Center

Market Manager Resource Center

Getting Started Tracking the Market’s Success
Funding Sources Low-Income Customers
Regulations & Food Safety Direct Marketing Organizations
Pricing General Resources
Promoting the Market  

Getting Started top

National Directory of Farmers Markets A clickable map leads you to farmers markets by state. Also has links to farmers markets websites. Farmers markets listed at this site often are willing to share information on their by-laws, guidelines or mission statements.

Direct Marketing Business Management From ATTRA, this Guide covers everything from Pricing to Publicity

Establishing & Operating a Community Farmers’ Market (from the University of Kentucky)

Leadership Development and Community Organizing From USDA Rural Development, these Technotes provide practical advice on Leadership development, organizing, how to write grant proposals, and applying for 501©(3) status.

Direct Farm Marketing and Tourism Handbook (from the University of Arizona)

Farmers’ Market Development Manual (from Iowa State University)

Recipes for Market Success (from USDA’s Small Farm Digest, Spring/Summer 2003)

Missouri Alternatives Center Extensive list of Extension publications on farmers markets including:

  • Food Safety for Farmers Markets
  • A Guide to Starting, Operating, and Selling in Farmers Markets
  • Weights and Measures Guidelines for Sales at Farmers Markets, Roadside Stands and Other Commercial Outlets (Click on ‘F’ for Farmers’ Market)

Starting a Business in West Virginia This booklet acts as a guide to starting a business in West Virginia, complete with forms necessary to register with the Tax Department and receive your business registration certificate.

Applying for IRS 501(c)(3) Status (PDF)

West Virginia Business Forms Forms for registering as an LLC or Non-profit with the WV Secretary of State

“Analyze the habits and needs of your potential customers.”

Funding Sources top

Funding for Direct Marketing A comprehensive list of potential funding sources for developing and improving a farmers market

Food and Society As an initiative of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Food & Society offers grants for programs dealing with food systems and rural development.

Grant Writing Resources From the USDA’s Rural Development Agency

Public Markets and Community Revitalization From the Ford Foundation, this site includes potential funding sources for markets, with a guidebook covering all aspects of the market development process. Includes sample budgets, staffing requirements, tenant mix plans, marketing strategies, cash flow analysis and cost projections.

“With sales figures a manager can analyze whether a marketing campaign is effective. Trying advertising or promotional ideas with a cost is necessary, but if you can only rely on farmers’ anecdotal responses about sales going up, it is difficult to determine whether your expenditure paid off…”

Pricing top

Grassroots Pricing Index Search by product or by state to find prices for items sold at farmers’ markets throughout the United States. Become a reporter and list the prices charged for products at your market for the benefit of other farmers in West Virginia and beyond!

Organic Price Index Published by the Rodale Institute

Today’s Market Prices Up-to-date price listings for wholesale Herbs, Fruit, and Vegetables. Requires subscription.

Vegetable, Fruit & Flower Wholesale Prices Courtesy of USDA

“The challenge is to be sensitive to both groups, farmers and consumers, without letting either side demand too much. Some farmers want monopolies but customer numbers will suffer generally if you listen. At least two vendors selling the same item in numerous categories is a good idea to start. You need to distinguish your farmers’ market from local supermarket competition.”

Regulations & Food Safety top

Temporary Food Service Concession Guidelines (PDF) from the WV Department of Health & Human Resources

Food Safety for Farmers’ Markets (From Kansas State University)

Safe Handling of Food at Open Markets (From Kansas State University)

Local Health Department Contacts To find regulations specific to your county

Promoting the Market top

How to Write a Press Release (From USDA Rural Development)

Food Routes Great reminders on the importance of supporting local farmers

Local Harvest A free database on which to list your farmers market. Individual farms can also add themselves to the online database, frequently searched by the public.

West Virginia Cookbooks From the WVDA, these printed booklets on preparing vegetables, meats, honey and more can be ordered free of charge for handing out at your market.

5-A-Day Brochures, posters, educational programs, and many resources for promoting fruits and vegetables.

Farmers Market Coloring Book from USDA, in Word or PDF format

About Produce Detailed nutritional information and recipes for fresh produce, published by the Produce Marketing Association and Produce for Better Health Foundation.

Seasonal Recipes from seasonalchef.com

Community Food Security Coalition

The Northeast Regional Food Guide Consists of a full-color regional food pyramid, a seasonal produce guide, and a set of eight fact sheets providing additional nutrition information and tips on using seasonal produce.

“A Press release is one of our most useful and powerful marketing tools. The press release serves two purposes. First, it gets the information of our market before the public. Secondly, because a press release is a news story and not an advertisement, it gives the story, and therefore your market, credibility.”

Tracking your Market’s Success top

Market Effects on Neighboring Businesses From Oregon State University

Surveying Your Customers From Oregon State University, the Rapid Market Assessment Survey method offers a fun way to survey your customers and strengthen the market.

Low-Income Customers top

Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program Details about this federal program for low-income women and their children, with information on how to accept the vouchers and contacts for application in West Virginia.

Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program Details about this federal voucher program and how apply to accept SFMNP vouchers.

Direct Marketing Organizations top

North American Farmers’ Direct Marketing Association Non-profit association dedicated to the needs of the farm direct marketing industry. Projects and benefits are targeted for farmers, market managers, Extension and other government agencies.

West Virginia Direct Marketing Association

Agricultural Marketing Resource Center Value-added agriculture resources

Maine Federation of Farmers’ Markets Provides free downloads of:

  • Promotional Ideas for Farmers Markets
  • Setting Up at Farmers Market
  • Starting a Farmers Market

“Look at the organizations and activities in your area. Those organizations with successful fundraisers may want to use the market as a new location for their event. Let the library or the high school orchestra know that your farmers’ market is available as a fundraising site. This builds community support and also brings in publicity.”

General Resources top

ATTRA – Appropriate Technology Transfer to Rural Areas

Openair-Market Net A guide to Farmers Markets, Street Vendors, Flea Markets and Street Markets

National Organic Program Informs about production and certification requirements to sell organic products.

The Market Bulletin News from the West Virginia Department of Agriculture