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Once your market is a stable business, there are many ways you can grow your market by hiring a market manager, developing community partners, creating a “Friends of the Market”, securing grant funding, business training for your vendors and reaching out to new income populations.

1. Hiring & Training a Market Manager

Quick Tips for Hiring, Training and Managing a Market Manager

Here’s a quick reference guide about what it takes to hire and manage a market manager.

Hiring a Market Manager:

Training and Managing Your Market Manager:

  • Market Manager FAQ from the Farmers Market Coalition.
  • Making Your Market Manager Matter. In this CFA Farmers Market Support Program webinar, we discuss how to measure the impact for the position and prove value. This webinar is designed to provide you with a work-plan framework giving your manager action items and ‘measurables’ over the course of the season to track progress and results.
  • Farmers Market Manager Skills: This guide from the University of California Small Farm Center helps a farmers market define a market manager’s roles and responsibilities then give the manager resources to help build their skills for a successful farmers market.
  • Farmers Market Training Manual:  This manual from the Farmers Market Federation of New York is a great place to start if you are wondering what a manager job description should include. It’s also an excellent resource to help market managers define their scope of work as well as a source for helpful tips on how to manage and grow a market.
  • The Mighty Market Manager: This publication from the Washington State Farmers Market Management Toolkit will give you tips about a market manager job description, training, and compensation.
  • Ontario Market Manager Certification Program is a professional development course conceived by Farmers’ Markets Ontario and developed in conjunction with Michelle Wolf, a certified coach, business owner, and former farmers’ market manager. The course material is in a series of 12 webinars that are 60 to 90 minutes in length. There are no deadlines to meet. You learn at your own pace. There is a cost of $200.

2. Develop Community Partners

When farmers markets prioritize community partnership development, they are solidifying the market’s place within the community as a space for economic vitality, food access, relationship building, and general prosperity. View this webinar or this blog post from CFA’s Farmers Market Support Program to learn how you can harness your community to create an even better market!

3. Fundraising

  • Strategic Planning to Meet Your Funding Raising Goals: Here is a strategic guide to fundraising from the Washington Farmers Market Association.
  • Webinar: Raise Money and Build Community with Engaging Online Fundraising: In this webinar hosted by the Farmers Market Coalition, Caroline Fiore, Development Manager at Farm Aid, will guide market leaders on a variety of techniques and strategies for online fundraising, including hosting effective and engaging online events.
  • Fund Raising Strategies for Incentives Match: Listed here are ideas for farmers markets to adapt for their SNAP & other incentives match fundraising efforts. Most of the examples are from Oregon and Washington.
  • Fund Raising: Here’s a link to several more resources from the Farmers Market Coalition.
  • Farm to Fork Grant Program: Host a fundraiser with the help of the Kentucky Proud Farm to Fork Program. The Farm to Fork program works to increase the awareness of the local food movement by partnering with organizations to benefit a charity in their community. The grant reimburses up to $750.00 of the event’s eligible Kentucky produced food products and associated promotional expenditures. This is a helpful grant to consider is you are doing a farm to table fundraiser for your market.

4. Grant Funding

  • KCARD Monthly Funding Newsletter: Subscribe to this newsletter and get the latest information about a variety of funding opportunities for Kentucky farmers markets and Kentucky small farmers.
  • USDA Grant Resources: This page is maintained by the USDA and contains a list of funding opportunities and resources available to the public.
  • Community Farm Alliance (CFA) Farmers Market Support Program and Kentucky Double Dollars: This grant funds up to $5,500 for implementation of the Kentucky Double Dollars program at your market and up to $2,000 for a market manager with a 1:1 cost share. The Kentucky Double Dollars Program gives farmers market customers the ability to double the value of their federal nutrition benefits (SNAP, WIC, and SFMNP) to purchase fresh, local produce.
  • Community Food Projects (CFP) USDA Community Food Projects provide funding from $10,000-$300,000 to non-profits, tribal organizations, or public food program service providers.  Successful applications will involve collaborative partners working together to solve healthy food access issues that affect low-income persons.
  • Farmers Market Promotion Program This USDA program provides up to $250,000 or $500,000 “to increase domestic consumption of and access to locally and regionally produced agricultural products and to develop new marketing opportunity for farm operations serving local markets by developing, improving, and providing outreach, training, and technical assistance.”  Farmers markets are eligible to apply and no match is required.
  • Kentucky Double Dollars: The Kentucky Double Dollars Program gives farmers market customers the ability to double the value of their federal nutrition benefits (SNAP, WIC, and SFMNP) to purchase fresh, local produce.
  • Kentucky Department of Agriculture Grants: Here’s a list of grants offered through the KDA including the Kentucky Proud Promotion (POP) grant and the Farm to Fork grant.
  • Rural Business Development Grants: Institutions of higher education, rural cooperatives, towns and communities, and state and local governments are eligible to apply for $10,000-$100,000 for activities such as planning, training, technical assistance, construction, and equipment. Requests for funding should focus on ways to improve rural community economic development, such as increasing the purchase and consumption of local produce.

5. Friends of the Market Toolkit

This toolkit was created by the Federation of New York Farmer Markets . A Friends of the Market gives market supporters a greater connection to the market, with a strong sense of ownership; creates an additional source of income for the market; and provides additional manpower for the market.

6. Helping Vendors Grow Their Businesses

  • Selling Farm Products at Farmers Markets: Here are tips and resources for improving farmers market sales from the Center for Crop Diversification at the University of Kentucky. Also, see their Farmers Market Weekly Price Reports that list prices for common products that are currently being charged at a selection of Kentucky farmers’ markets so that your vendors can make informed decisions when setting prices.
  • Cornell Small Farms Program: Resources from Cornell Small Farm Program for starting and growing a small farm business
  • Standing Out at a Farmers’ Market: Recommendations for improving farmers market sales from Penn State Extension Service.
  • Setting Yourself Apart in a Farmers’ Market: A PowerPoint from the University of Ohio Extension office detailing best practices for farmers market vendors.

7. Low Income Outreach

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is administered by the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) and serves as the nation’s largest domestic hunger safety net. FNS works with state-level agencies and partners to inform the public of nutrition assistance opportunities, sign up beneficiaries, and ensure program integrity. To receive SNAP benefits, eligible individuals must apply through their states. In order for a farmers market to accept SNAP payments, they need to apply for an FNS number and obtain Electronic Benefits Transaction (EBT) processing equipment. To apply for SNAP for your farmers market Click Here.
  • Here are two guides to help you apply for SNAP. Step-by-Step Instructions for a Farmers Market to Become Eligible to Accept SNAP and SNAP Guide to Farmers Markets from the Farmers Market Coalition.
  • IRS ruling 6050W on 1099k IRS electronic reporting requirements for farmers markets. This rule requires all electronic card processors to issue 1099K’s to all merchants accepting electronic payments. This includes all credit, debit, and food stamp payments. Here is an explanation of the rule and some tests to determine if you are exempt from it.
  • For additional information about accepting SNAP at your Kentucky farmers market, please contact Sharon Spencer with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture at 502-782-4127 or by email sharon.spencer@ky.gov.

Free SNAP/EBT Processing Equipment:

  • From Kentucky: To find out if you qualify for leased EBT equipment, contact LaShana Watson, Department of Community Based Services, Division of Family Support, 502-564-3440 ext.3700 or by email lashana.watson@ky.gov.
  • From the USDA: To find out if you qualify for free SNAP/EBT processing equipment available through the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Services Cooperative Agreement, click here.

Senior & WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) food instruments

  • WIC (Women, Infant, and Children) Click this link to the WIC FMNP handbook from Kentucky Public Health. WIC FMNP provides participants in the WIC Program with preprinted food instruments (FIs) to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables and fresh-cut cooking herbs at local farmers markets. WIC participants receive the nutritional benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables in addition to the regular WIC food package. The local farmers are reimbursed for the face value of the FIs which enhances their earnings and supports their participation in the farmers markets.
  • Ideas to increase WIC Redemption Rates at your Market: tips from KDA FMNP
  • Senior FMNP: Low-income seniors are issued coupons for the purchase of fresh, unprocessed produce from participating farmers’ markets.

Attracting Low Income Customers to Your Market

  • The Community Farmers Alliance Kentucky Double Dollars: The Kentucky Double Dollars Program gives farmers market customers the ability to double the value of their federal nutrition benefits (SNAP, WIC, and SFMNP) to purchase fresh, local food.
  • The University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service Farmers’ Market Toolkit: This toolkit is a research-based resource developed to make local, fresh fruit and vegetables more accessible to limited resource Kentuckians through farmers’ markets. It includes an assessment tool to help market leadership identify measures they can take to improve marketing to this audience.   The assessment addresses the market’s promotional practices, acceptance of nutrition program benefits, implementation of incentive programs, access, appearance and safety, and community engagement.  The toolkit provides resources to help markets address those issues they choose to pursue.   This toolkit is ONLY available through your county’s extension offices.
  • Quick Tips” for attracting WIC & SNAP recipients to your market.
  • Kentucky Guide to Incentive Programs  A PowerPoint presentation created by the Partnership for Fit Kentucky to promote access to healthy foods at farmers markets.
  • Good and Cheap Cookbook: Recipes designed to fit the budgets of people living on SNAP.
  • The FreshLink Ambassador (FLA) Model is a peer-to-peer marketing approach effectively reaching key target populations. The Cleveland, OH pilot program targeted neighborhoods where 30% or more of the residents received SNAP and that were located within one mile of a farmers’ market that had a SNAP incentive program. Overall, farmers’ markets paired with a FreshLink Ambassador had greater improvements in SNAP sales compared to farmers’ markets without a FreshLink Ambassador. This website has manuals and resources to help a community start their own ambassador program.

Other Food Incentive and Food Assistance Programs

  • GleanKY bridges the gap between programs working with food-insecure populations and sources of excess fresh fruits and vegetables. Volunteers pick up produce that can’t be sold but is otherwise perfectly edible and deliver it to partner recipient sites in the communities where they serve.
  • Produce Prescription Program: Several farmer markets in Kentucky have implemented Produce Rx programs including Letcher County, Menifee County, and Community Farmers Market in Bowling Green. This manual presents the steps to implement a Produce Prescription Program (aka Produce Rx, PRx, or Veggie Rx) between three types of organizations or programs: 1) a nutrition education program, 2) a healthcare partner, and 3) a local farmers market. This model is based on a successful program developed by Adelante Mujeres, a Latina women’s empowerment organization, and Virginia Garcia, a Federally Qualified Health Center, both based in Washington County, OR.
  • Summer Food Service Program: Markets interested in serving as a site for summer meals should visit the Kentucky Department of Education, Division of School and Community Nutrition web site.

8. More Resources for Growing Your Market

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