Farmers’ Markets are a vital part of Indiana’s local food system enabling community and consumer engagement with regional farmers. For years, farmers have worked to educate consumers about growing and eating fresh whole grown/raised food and that education takes place at every market. Since 2009, the number of farmers’ markets in Indiana has doubled; we now have 177 throughout Indiana. The surge in interest and shopping at farmers’ markets is an important component of any community food system, and can be a great launching point for new or beginning farmers, and those looking to diversify their market channels.
Farmers’ market are operating in a wide range of places in Indiana and across the country. There are farmers’ markets in small rural towns, suburban parking lots, and inner city streets. Most farmers’ market are independent organizations, but many are also sponsored by local governments or the Chamber of Commerce. To find a farmers’ market near you, check out the USDA’s Local Food Directory for Farmers’ Markets https://www.ams.usda.gov/local-food-directories/farmersmarkets. In case you don’t see it there, your local Chamber or government office should have information.
Most farmers’ markets operate one time per week during the growing season from around June to November. There are a growing number of markets that continue to operate into the winter. In fact, they are often called “winter markets”. Thanks to season extension tools and various food preservation techniques, farmers’ are able to extend their sales into the non-growing months.
Interested in starting a farmers’ market? Be sure your community needs a market, or another market. Read this Purdue publication to help with your planning process.
In addition, there are multiple regulatory agencies for farmers’ markets in Indiana. Learn more about who/where/when here.
Local Food Directories: Put your market on the map! Be sure you update the information for your farmers’ market every year in the USDA database!
Farmers Market Vending is a manual designed for farmers just beginning the process of entering a farmers market, for farmers who have been selling at markets for many years, and for farmers whose experience lies anywhere in between.
The USDA has many resources for farmers’ markets online including presentations, publications and directories to help the managers, vendors and consumer access information about markets in the U.S.
The Farmers’ Market Coalition has a fantastic resource library online as well as updated information from all over the country regarding best practices, market rules, regulation and many other topics. Your membership in the Hoosier Farmers’ Market Association will give you access to member-materials and individual resources from their organization.
A list of resources used in the Market Manager Guide and referenced in the back of the manual – Market Manager Guide Resources.
The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) has many online resources for markets, farmers and retail food businesses interested in accepting SNAP for payment. SNAP is an acronym for Supplemental Food Assistance Program, formerly food-stamps.