ASAP provides resources, networking opportunities, and promotional support for farmers markets (also called tailgate markets) across the Appalachian Grown region. This includes:
- Free listings and discounted ads in ASAP’s print and online Local Food Guide for Appalachian Grown certified markets. (Learn more about the Appalachian Grown Program to see if your market qualifies.)
- The Appalachian Grown Farmers Market Managers Network, an active forum to ask questions, share experiences, and learn from fellow market managers.
- An annual Farmers Market Summit to convene market managers from across the region. The summit typically takes place at the Business of Farming Conference and gives market managers free registration.
- The opportunity to participate in multi-market promotions or use ASAP’s Promotional Activity Kits (Pick-a-PAK).
- Individual support as needed. Contact Farmers Market Program Manager Mike McCreary for more information.
Farmers Market Toolkit
The Appalachian Grown Farmers Market Toolkit is a work-in-progress collection of strategies, resources, and best practices for farmers market managers. It will be compiled by ASAP based on the experience and expertise of individual markets and managers.
Part 1, published in May 2021 and viewable above, focuses on marketing, promotion, and outreach. It is intended as a guide to help market managers increase sales to existing customers, improve customer retention, and expand the customer base. Part 2 will center on market operations and management.
Additional Resources for Tailgate Markets
The documents and workshop recordings linked below offer guidance for markets at all stages. If you can’t find what you need, contact Farmers Market Program Manager Mike McCreary for additional support.
Starting a Farmers Market
Farmers markets can help create community around local food, provide sales opportunities for local farms, and draw customers to underused areas. Your first steps in starting a market are finding a location, recruiting vendors, and drafting clear rules.
- Ten Tips for Starting a Farmers Market (PDF)
- Farmers Market Site Assessment Guide (PDF)
- Farmers Market Site Assessment Rating Sheet (PDF)
- Sample Market Vendor Application (PDF)
- Content Checklist for Market Rules (Farmers Market Promotion Program and ASAP PDF)
- Sample Market Rules (PDF)
Markets face many challenges, from attracting customers to streamlining operations to reducing risk. Good market management will address these issues to create a thriving local food hub.
- Farmers Market Management Tips (Powerpoint)
- Fundraising Resources for Your Market (Washington State Farmers Market Management Toolkit PDF)
- Market Makeover: 25 Best Practices for Farmers Markets (PDF)
- Working with Your Board of Directors (Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont)
- Sample Market Needs Assessment (PDF)
Market Safety and Regulations
As a market manager, you are responsible for the safety of your market and the food products sold there. From canopy setup to food handling guidelines, there is a lot to keep in mind. The following resources will help you identify risks and develop regulations based on best practices.
- North Carolina Department of Agriculture Market Guidelines (NC Department of Agriculture PDF)
- Canopy Safety 101 (Washington State Farmers Market Association PDF)
- Sample Product Guidelines (Ashe County Farmers Market PDF)
- Managing Risks and Liability (Small Farm Center and Risk Management Association PDF)
- Sample Food Handling Guidelines (Market Umbrella PDF)
Marketing is key for growing your customer base and attracting quality vendors. Through promotions, special events, and customer feedback, you can generate excitement for your market throughout the season.
- Pick-a-PAK (Promotional Activity Kits available to be checked out from ASAP)
- Promotional Photography for Farmers Markets (ASAP webinar, 2020)
- Marketing the Market (Kansas Rural Center Sustainable Agriculture Management Guides PDF)
- Market Special Event Ideas (PDF)
- Sample Customer Survey (West Asheville Tailgate Market PDF)
- Marketing, Outreach, Promotion, and Social Media for Farmers Markets (ASAP workshop, 2013)
- ASAP’s Farmers Market Tour Guide Guide (PDF)
Sales and SNAP/EBT
How can your market drive more sales? Use these resources to help your vendors thrive. Get information on how to reach low-income shoppers through SNAP/EBT.
- Farmers Market Best Practices (PDF)
- Maximizing Your Sales (Famers Market Federation of New York PDF)
- Thoughts on Selling at Farmers Markets (New Farm PDF)
- Vendors: Increase Your Sales at Farmers Markets (ASAP workshop, 2013)
- Sharing the Harvest: A Guide to Bridging the Divide Between Farmers Markets and Low-Income Shoppers (PDF)
- How to Accept SNAP/EBT at Your Farm or Market (ASAP and MarketLink webinar, 2020)
- Accepting SNAP/EBT at Farmers Markets (ASAP workshop, 2013)