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Begin a Company Farmer's Market

farmers marketImproving access to and consumption of produce is an important component in improving the health of employees. By creating a garden market at your worksite you will give employees the opportunity to purchase produce on a break or during their lunch hour.

Below we will answer the following questions and help get you started on your Garden Market:

What Would We Like To Have For Sale?

First you must decide what you would like the market to provide. There are many varieties of produce and some farmers will sell homemade treats, jam, cheese, butter, etc. Since the purpose of this program is to improve the health of employees you may want to discourage the vendor from providing any unhealthy items. We recommend keeping it simple, just local produce.

What Dates and Times Would My Employees Prefer?

You may want to send out an email survey to determine the best days and times to provide the market. It has been shown that most employees prefer mid and late week markets to supplement their weekend shopping with fresh items.

Having a market open during lunch time is a great way to connect with most employees. You may adjust the amount of time the market is open depending on the number of employees in your building. If there are only a few hundred, a few hours should suffice. Larger companies may need to leave the market open all day, with recommended times for each department, division or floor. This will help the vendor to serve everyone well and avoid the lunchtime rush.

Where Do I Find Farmers?

To locate an existing farmers market in your area visit to search for a nearby market. You may call or email the farmers listed on this site to find a local farmer to visit your worksite during the week.

They will need to know:

  • How many customers they can expect (estimate).
  • What you want them to sell.
  • When they should arrive to set up.
  • What time they need pack up.
  • How often would you like them to come. (ie. Every Wednesday for 3 months)
  • How payment will be made (usually cash only).

Questions you should ask the vendor:

  • Does the vendor carry the appropriate liability insurance?
  • Does the vendor have the appropriate business license and is it current?
  • How much space does the vendor need to set up and begin selling?
  • Is the vendor willing to commit or sign a contract to continue selling at your location for a specified period of time? What is the cancellation policy?

How Do I Get The Word Out?

Begin advertising the market a month or so in advance to ensure everyone is anticipating the coming of the new market. Post flyers, send out emails, encourage management to get on board and encourage their employees to participate. Let employees know what kinds of produce will be sold and if the vendor will accept credit cards or checks.

Encourage neighboring businesses to participate, deliver flyers to nearby businesses to encourage participation.

Important Things To Consider Before You Start:

The first day of the garden market will be a learning experience for all involved. Document lessons learned the first day and apply solutions to future sales days. The following suggestions will help you get the most from the opening day.

Work with the vendor in these ways:

  • Encourage vendor to provide signs for displaying produce prices.
  • Encourage the vendor to arrive early to set up and help you anticipate potential delays or other issues.
  • Inquire if the vendor will provide their own tent or if they will need one provided for them. They can also set up in a shady area. This is especially important in the summer months.
  • Vendor should be reminded to bring their own water if none is available at their location.

Work with your garden market support staff in these ways:

  • Have an alternate date in mind in case of unexpected problems, such as bad weather.
  • Plan for the weather. For example, do you need sunscreen, umbrellas, or drinking water?
  • Have one or more of your support staff arrive early to help the vendor with setup.
  • Have extra supplies, especially tape, markers, and paper.
  • Plan for lunch and bathroom breaks for the staff and vendor.

Source: Centers for Disease Control, Healthier Worksite Initiative, Garden Market Pilot Program


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