Kentucky Farmers Market Toolkit


Stage 1a: STARTING A MARKET-The Bare Minimum

If you are thinking about starting a new farmers market, here are 3 main questions to consider and 4 main support organizations to get you on the right track.

  1. What is the demand for a new farmers market?
  2. What is the purpose of the market?
  3. What is your plan for running the market?
  4. Free help for starting a farmers market.

To view the complete section of Starting a Market, click here.

Stage 1b: STARTING A MARKET-Creating a Firm Foundation

By going through the hard work of writing a mission statement, picking a business structure, and hashing out a business plan, you will make for a more sustainable market that is able to weather future storms saving time and stress in the long run.

  1. Define Your Market
  2. Make a business plan
  3. Choose a business structure
  4. Set up your governance
  5. Choose a market site
  6. Register as a business
  7. Set up your financials
  8. Know the laws governing farmers markets
  9. Know your risks and manage them
  10. Rules and Regulations
  11. Vendor Recruitment

To view the complete section of Starting a Market, click here.


In this section, you will find resources on how to promote your market, grow a volunteer base, collect key market data, and plan events.

  1. Work Planning
  2. Daily Market Reports
  3. Marketing, Promotion & Advertising
  4. Event Planning
  5. Volunteer Recruitment and Management

To view the complete section of Operating a Market, click here.


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 a manager
  2. Develop Community Partners
  3. Fund Raising
  4. Grant funding for Farmers Markets
  5. Friends of the Market
  6. Children’s Programs
  7. Helping Vendors Grow Their Businesses
  8. Low Income Outreach
  9. More Resources to Grow Your Market

To view the complete section of Growing a Market, click here.


Periodically evaluating your legal documents, record keeping, customer satisfaction, vendor engagement, and other operating procedures can be an important way to keep a market vibrant, healthy, and relevant.

  1. Evaluate Your Market Using Farmers Market Metrics
  2. Farmers Market Assessment Tool
  3. Kentucky Center for Agriculture and Rural Development

To view the complete section of Evaluating a Market, click here.

About this Toolkit:

This toolkit is a collection of documents and resources curated by the Community Farm Alliance’s Farmers Market Support Program team. It was developed in response to the challenges faced by Kentucky farmers market leaders with whom we’ve been working since the beginning of the FMSP in 2015. Like a toolbox, this is meant to be used as needed choosing the right tool that fits your market’s needs. Although there are many farmers market toolkits available on the web, this one was developed specifically for  Kentucky farmers market.

If you have difficulty accessing this information, please contact us or your local University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Office who will help you get a print version of the material.

Also, if you are looking for a resource and it’s not here or know of a resource that should be here, please contact us so we can source and share that information. The FMSP team reviews this toolkit on a regular basis but because of the rapid changes of the internet, you may find a link that has gone dead before we do. We’d appreciate you letting us know so we can fix it before the next user comes along.

Our Partners:

USDA Agricultural Marketing Service

This toolkit would not be possible without the contributions of our partners at the Kentucky Center for Agriculture and Rural Development, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Human Services,  the University of Kentucky Center for Crop Diversification, the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Office, the Kentucky Department of Public Health and farmers market leaders from the 2018 Farmers Market Support Program. Funding for this toolkit was made possible through a United States Department of Agriculture Farmers Market Promotion Program grant and by Community Farm Alliance membership donations.