As noted in my last post, I have enjoyed reading Prof. Neil Hamilton’s publication titled “Farmers’ Markets: Rules, Regulations and Opportunities.” He includes a nice list of questions for farmers/vendors to ask themselves when reviewing the Market Rules for a particular farmers’ market which include:
(1) Who sponsors the farmers’ market?
(2) How long as the farmers’ market been established?
(3) What is the expected crowd for the farmers’ market?
(4) What is the application fee and/or procedures?
(5) Do vendors pay season, monthly or weekly flat fees or do they pay a percentage of gross sales?
(6) Who owns the land where the market is located?
(7) Who is responsible in case of accidents or injuries to shoppers?
(8) Who will have the authority to decide which farm sets up in which location?
(9) Is the market a “producer only” market or does the market allow for wholesale peddlers or sale of food raised by other farmers?
(10) Can vendors provide samples to customers?
(11) What are the penalties for violating a market rule?
(12) What are the penalties for missing a market day?
(13) If a vendor is forced to leave the market or is unable to continue to participate, is any portion of the fee/rent refundable?
(14) What procedure is followed if there is a dispute over a rule violation? (e.g., committee of vendors and customers who decide)?
(15) Does the market have all the necessary local business permits or licenses?
(16) Is the farmers’ market approved to participate in the WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program?
(17) What food products may be sold at the farmers’ market (e.g., meat, poultry, eggs, processed foods)?
(18) How will the Market Manager make sure the vendors do not try to sell the same things at lower prices?
(19) Does the farmers’ market itself carry its own insurance in case of accidents?
(20) What type of insurance does the farmers’ market expect vendors to have and what proof of insurance must be provided?
(21) Do the market rules require the farmer to actually attend the market or can vendors send employees/independent contractors to do the selling?
(22) Does the farmers’ market require the farmer/vendor to submit a plan before the market season begins listing what produce will be sold and approximate volume?
(23) Can the market officials visit a vendor’s farm to inspect the operation and/or its records?
(24) What are the food labeling requirements, if any?
What other issues have folks dealt with at farmers’ markets? Are there any other questions that should be added?