NC Cooperative Extension

The N.C. Cooperative Extension Service houses a multidisciplinary group of professionals at the N.C. Research Campus as part of the Plants for Human Health Institute. Providing expertise in farm business management, communications and marketing, and fresh produce safety, these Cooperative Extension staff serve as an outreach component to complement the research conducted at PHHI.



Table of Contents:

Comprehensive Resources

Market Manuals & Guides

A Farmers Market Development Manual
A reference guide that provides useful tips for those who want to start a market, expand an existing market or participate in the selling of goods.

Farmers’ Markets: Marketing and Business Guide (PDF)
This 2008 publication from ATTRA – National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service is a concise overview that addresses issues for those who want to organize a new farmers market, improve an existing market or increase sales.

Washington State Farmers Market Manual (PDF)
Washington State University Extension developed this helpful and comprehensive manual for market managers. Resources provided include Steps for Starting a Farmers Market, Best Practices in Market Management and Reevaluating Markets for Continuous Improvement. The document refers to Washington, but the ideas and methods are easily applied to North Carolina markets.

Farmers Market Strategic Planning Workbook (PDF)
This guide provides resources for developing strategic plans. Recognizing that each market and organization is unique, and not all organizations will need to use the entire workbook, it has been divided into two sections: The Planning Process and Facilitating Your Group. Developed by the Alberta Farmers Market Association and Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development.

Starting a Seasonal Open-Air Market (PDF)
This is a detailed, easy-to-read field guide for market organizers. It contains similar content as other manuals and guides listed in this section, but provides frequent examples and succinct summaries. Developed by Kansas State University, but the manual can be applied to North Carolina markets.

Organization & Services

USDA Agricultural Marketing Service
The Marketing Services Division of the USDA offers several resources for Farmers Markets and Local Food Marketing. Be sure to notice the boxes in the right column for interest-specific links.

UC Small Farm Program
The Farmers Market Management Series (1, 2 and 3) takes a comprehensive looks at starting a new farmers market, identifying the skills and responsibilities of a market manager and evaluating the markets success. Additional handbooks focus on risk management and food safety.

Market Umbrella
An educational organization for public markets across the nation. This site offers tools to measure a market’s economic impact, funding strategies and best practices for the innovation and smart development of public markets. The Crescent City Farmers Market in Greater New Orleans provides the “laboratory” for the tools developed by

Topical Resources

10 Principles of a Successful Farmers’ Market (PDF)
With more than 300 farmers markets in New York, the Farmers’ Market Federation of New York has some experience in observing what leads to success and market longevity.

A Guide to Understanding Farmers Market Rules from Farmers Legal Action Group

A guide for farmers selling at a farmers market and those starting or running a farmers market.

When Things Don’t Work: Some Insights into Why Farmers Markets Close
The United States has seen rapid growth in the number of farmers markets opening across the country. However, Oregon State University reports that many of those markets closed or failed to reopen. This publication addresses issues associated with market failure based on data collected from markets that actually closed and it offers recommendations to enhance the likelihood of market success.

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Niche Markets

Farmers Markets’ and CSAs on Hospital Grounds (PDF)
Increasingly, hospitals are demonstrating leadership in health promotion by hosting farmers’ markets and CSAs (community supported agriculture) on site as a way to make farm fresh, locally grown produce and other foods more readily available. This publication addresses how to overcome challenges for this unique market, offers tips for success and provides examples of existing programs.

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Building Community Partnerships

Project for Public Spaces: Public Markets
This nonprofit organization offers a broad prospective on public spaces with several more narrow focus areas including public markets. Take note of the sections on the right navigation bar for links to resources this organization has developed including tools for evaluating the economic impact of your market.

Farmers Markets: Economic, Social and Community Building
A look at what markets bring to potential partnerships in order to convince those outside of the normal farmers market community of the value in working together. Developed by the Farmers Market Federation of New York.

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Marketing the Market

Farmers Market Vendor Profile Template (PDF)
Use this list of questions to develop vendor profiles to acquaint farmers market customers, stakeholders and the surrounding community with the vendors who cultivate the earth so that they may eat local, fresh foods.

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Evaluating the Market

Rapid Market Assessments (PDF)
This document provides simple, low-cost methods to make effective changes and improvements for your market.

SEEDS (Sticky Economy Evaluation Device)
SEED is a simple, on-line tool to measure the economic impact of all markets, from farmers markets to flea markets. SEED will give you data to improve your organization’s effectiveness and benchmarks to chart your future growth.

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Federal Food Assistance Programs

Nutrition Incentives at Farmers Markets: Bringing Fresh, Healthy, Local Foods Within Reach
This report profiles pilot programs that match and expand Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children Farmers Market Nutrition Program (WIC FMNP), and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) dollars spent at farmers markets.

Accepting Food Stamps Electronic Benefits Transfer Cards at Farmers Markets and Roadside Stands: A Primer for Farmers and Market Managers
A user-friendly how-to manual for farmers and farmers’ market managers interested in accepting food stamp EBT cards at farmers’ markets. Includes pros and cons for various aspects of the program.

Wireless Card Services: Supporting SNAP (Food Stamp), WIC and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Programs
This report analyzes wireless card service programs benefiting SNAP (food stamp) clients and analyzes the benefits and costs of expanding access with wireless card readers to rewards cards, credit cards and debit card installations at farmers markets.

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Conflict Resolution

Tips for Dealing with Conflict
This article provides a general overview of how to deal more effectively with conflict in your professional and personal lives. It covers demeanor, listening skill and verbal communication skills, and handling a resolution.

Farmers Market Management Skills: Conflict Resolution
This chapter of the University of California, Davis publication discusses conflict resolution including evaluation of a market’s policies and procedures, recognizing stages of conflict and strategies to resolve conflict.

Tomato Wars: Conflict Management for Farmers Markets

This PowerPoint presentation, developed by the Cooperative Development Institute, lists common market conflicts and resolution strategies.

Understanding Farmers Market Rules

Published by the Farmers Legal Action Group, this article is intended to help farmers understand their responsibilities and rights as vendors at a farmers market. The section specifically addressing dispute resolution can be found on page 4.

Real Market Examples
Many markets have policies in place to address how conflicts are to be handled by market vendors, customers and organizers.

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