Managing Your Market

Oregon's farmers' market managers range from volunteer coordinators to full-time managers with supporting staff, seasonal to year-round. Their job descriptions vary depending on the market organization structure, board involvement, volunteer support and budgets. One fact for sure, market managers work with limited resources and their energy is spurred by passion for their community, for local agriculture and for the joy of the market day, when people come to celebrate the Oregon harvest.

OFMA's Resource Library provides links, contacts and excellent reading resources to help jump start your market venture. Below are examples of Market Manager tasks.

Creating a Market | Finding a Site | Market Organization
Marketing to Farmers | Marketing to the Community | Market Day

Creating A Market

Farmer's markets provide opportunities for communities to access local food, farm-direct options for farmers, an opportunity for people to meet and socialize and an opportunity to appreciate and support Oregon agriculture. No matter what the purpose, most markets have key documents to help organize the market's activities.  

Organizational documents

The first challenge for most markets is finding a site. Once a site is secured, selling the market to farmers requires educating them on the market's location, demographics, stall/membership fees, time of operation and the publicity plan. Engaging the community to support local farmers with their dollars means not only creating a place to buy fresh produce picked within less than 24 hours, but also an opportunity to educate shoppers on the importance of Oregon agriculture to our state. 

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Finding a Site

Open-air markets are like theater, magically transforming a portion of the community into a harvest celebration.  Farmers' markets reside at many different types of locations:  closed streets, empty parking lots, city plazas, county fairgrounds, city parks, city transit malls.  Creating these temporary "stages" can entail labor-intense challenges to assure that the markets are safe and attractive.

Site Considerations

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Market Organization

As a market manager, your job could entail coordinating with the market organizers to define market policies, coordinating committees, on-site management, structuring publicity and organizing special events.

Successful markets

Permits and licenses

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Marketing to Farmers

The number one customer in the farmers' market is the farmer. The market must provide farmers a viable farm direct opportunity.   A market needs to have a critical mass of farmers for a successful market.  This number will vary depending on the community. 

How to locate interested farmers

How to sell farmers on your market

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Marketing to the Community

Historically farmers' markets have been perceived as a place of commerce where farmers sell their produce to city folk.  Today organizers of farmers' markets recognize that farmers' markets can mobilize community support and civic participation, positively influence surrounding businesses and combine shared visions of the different community building players.  

Farmers' markets are as diverse as the towns where they reside.  Farmers' markets build upon the town's historic values, leveraging the traditions and ethnic diversity of their community.  Organizers and market manager must continuously build alliances between governments, neighboring businesses, farmers, state health agencies and of course, the market shoppers. 

Advertising Opportunities

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Market Day

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