The Davis Farmers Market Association has published online a USDA-funded guide for new farmers interested in selling at farmers markets around the United States.
Titled “New Farmer’s Guide: Cultivating Success at Farmers Markets,” the guide was written by Randii MacNear, the Davis Farmers Market manager and executive director, and Shelly G. Keller, the market’s marketing and events manager. Patricia Graves, the market’s graphic designer, produced the photographs and layout.
The 32-page, full-color guide also includes advice from Davis Farmers Market sellers to new farmers on how to succeed at farmers markets.
While numerous publications offer guidance to farmers about farmers markets, this guide is the first with advice coming from the leaders of a highly successful market. MacNear has managed the Davis Farmers Market for 30 years, and also manages the UC Davis Farmers Market and Sutter Davis Hospital Farmers Market. Keller has been the markets’ marketing and events manager since 2008. From 1986 to 2008, Keller provided marketing and communications services to California state agencies, city governments, nonprofits and small businesses.
The guide covers every aspect of selling at farmers markets, from determining readiness, to researching local farmers markets, to planning and budgeting costs. Packed with color photos of Davis Farmers Market sellers and their produce, the guide was funded by a USDA Farmers Market Promotion Program grant awarded in 2010 to UCD, in partnership with the Davis Farmers Market, to plan, open and operate the Sutter Davis Hospital Farmers Market. The grant was one of five awarded in California that year.
MacNear says writing the guide was a labor of love.
“The explosive growth of farmers markets around the country is fed by the people who are becoming farmers, as well as by the customers who buy their products,” she says. “We have so many new farmers who come to us, wanting to sell at our market. Shelly and I wrote this to help those new farmers plan for success at emerging farmers markets and successful farmers markets around California and the nation.”
Keller adds, “Randii and I wanted to write a guide that shares our perspective on what new farmers need to do to prepare for success. We based our advice on our own experience working with farmers, who sell at farmers markets, as well as on our experience in opening and operating the Sutter Davis Hospital Farmers Market.”
The Sutter market just ended its second year. It is open from mid-May through August at the hospital’s entrance, 2000 Sutter Place in West Davis.
The guide will be available later this month to download for free at davisfarmersmarket.org and on other ag-based websites as well.