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8 Facts About Farmers Market Managers

Farmers Markets are one of the best parts of summer. They are a great opportunity to support your local farmers and your regional community. Not only that, the fruits and vegetables are at their prime and make for a tasty treat!

When you visit a farmers market, it might appear like everything runs seemingly well but this isn’t always the case. Behind the scenes, there are Farmers Market Managers (FMM) who keep everything running smoothly!

1. Farmers Market Managers manage markets

Farmers Market Managers are:

responsible for all aspects of a farmers market’s operations during the season. These professionals oversee market events every week, representing and promoting the market in the community. They perform administrative functions such as monitoring the financial records of the vendors and following the stands that bring business to the market. Furthermore, Farmers Market Managers maintain positive relations with both vendors and customers by responding to needs and troubleshooting problems. They also act as a liaison between the market vendors and the board of directors. 

2. Farmers Market Managers make decisions

Depending on the size of a market, Farmers Market Managers select the vendors that make the cut into a marketplace. Some marketplaces require vendors to reapply every year in order to sell at the market. Due to physical limitations, not everyone is able to be chosen. Managers pick vendors by visiting their farm, bakery or wherever the product is created. They want to ensure that they have the charm of a small-scale farm.

3. Farmers Market Managers have varying educational backgrounds

There is no set educational background needed for Farmers Market Managers, as it is largely dependent on the personal experiences of the professional. Before taking on a position of management, a FMM typically works or volunteers at a farmers market. Over time, they gain the insight needed to run their own farmers market.

On rare occasions, some Farmers Market Managers are bold enough to start a farmers market themselves. This might take some time to bring the idea to fruition, but it ensures you can have any education background.

4. Farmers Market Managers keep track of vendors

Being able to perform administrative duties is an important aspect of any Farmers Market Manager. These managers maintain accurate and complete records on market and vendors throughout the year. They perform administrative duties such as keeping track of petty cash, collecting vendor frees, verifying cash in the register and payments to vendors. Overall, these duties help the FMM determine what vendors are doing well at the market and which aren’t.

5. Farmers Market Managers undergo volunteer management

Farmers markets would not be successful if were it not for the volunteers that help every week. Market managers hire, train, supervise and review all seasonal market staff and volunteers. Market managers plan and administer annual goals and activities for volunteers to support the market.

6. Farmers Market Managers may seek out grants

Some farmers markets are non-profit co-operatives. A co-operative is a self-governing association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise.

Due to this non-profit business model market, the FMM may need to research and seek out government grants to aid the market with any initiatives. Grants help farmers markets develop, improve, expand, and provide outreach, training and expansion to domestic farmers markets.

7. Farmers Market Managers act as liaisons

There are many members involved in building a successful farmers market. However, having many people involved means that different ideas can conflict at times. Farmers Market Managers act as liaisons between market vendors and the board of directors. As a liaison, market managers facilitate communication and cooperation between these two groups. Along the way, these professionals resolve minor disputes by mutual agreement of the parties involved. Overall, they make sure that everyone’s ideas are heard!

8. Farmers Market Managers are leaders, self-starters and communicate

As with any occupation, there are certain sets of skills which will aid you better than others. For  Farmers Market Managers, these skills include:

  • Communication Skills – Market managers work with different interests in mind: vendors, customers, board members and other market participants. Managers communicate with these different interests effectively with enthusiasm and positive spirit. They resolve conflicts and disagreements effectively while creating a welcoming, inclusive environment.
  • Self-Starter – A market manager is comfortable taking the initiative, operating autonomously within a market’s guidelines and policies. They readily make quick, sound decisions that best implement the market’s mission. To be self-starters, market managers set goals, take risks and are team-oriented.
  • Leadership – Market managers have the skill to manage onsite and office operations for farmers markets. They provide leadership and direction to the board, market committee and vendor community to ensure the success of the market. Finally, when paired with time-management skills, this leads to great things for the farmers market.

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