Additional Rules for San Jose’s Small Farmers’ Markets

Small farmers’ markets can have no more than 15 farmers/certified producers.

The right to operate a small certified farmers’ market in the City of San Jose brings with it certain responsibilities and obligations. You should familiarize yourself with those obligations and work to maintain compliance of your farmers’ market with those rules.

  • Small farmers’ markets can have no more than 15 certified producers.
  • Small farmers’ markets can have no more than three nonagricultural producers and no more than one nonagricultural producer for every five agricultural producer in the farmers’ market.
    • If you have fewer than five agricultural producers, you cannot have any nonagricultural producers.
    • If you have five to nine agricultural producers, you can have one nonagricultural producer.
    • If you have 10 to 14 agricultural producers, you can have two nonagricultural producers.
    • If you have 15 agricultural producers, you have three nonagricultural producers.
  • The total area occupied by a small certified farmers’ market must be less than 10,000 square feet.
    • Small farmers’ markets must accept CalFresh and the WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program vouchers. If the small farmers’ market does not directly accept CalFresh, it must allow a third party access to the farmers’ market to provide that service for the market.
    • Small farmers’ markets cannot operate more than two days per week at the same site.
    • Small farmers’ markets cannot operate except between the hours of 7:00am and 9:00pm, including both posted operating hours for customers and the setup and teardown time needed by farmers and vendors.
    • Small farmers’ markets cannot operate for more than six hours in a day including both posted operating hours for customers and the setup and teardown time needed by farmers and vendors.
    • Small farmers’ markets shall operate only on paved surfaces and not on landscaped areas and can’t harm any landscaping or landscaped areas.
    • Small farmers’ markets cannot offer for sale or otherwise distribute any alcoholic beverages.
    • Small farmers’ markets cannot use amplified sound for music or any other purpose.
    • Small farmers’ markets must operate as a “physically cohesive collection of vendors on a site,” in which all farmers and vendors are clustered into a single area with “limited physical separations” such as a visible gap between agricultural and nonagricultural producers.
    • Small farmers’ markets cannot obstruct or impede the safe flow of vehicular or pedestrian traffic on or around the site where the farmers’ market operates.
        • Small farmers’ markets must have the permission of the property owner of the site on which the market plans to operate before the market begins operation. This permission must include plans for maintaining the site: o Refuse disposal and sufficient trash and recycling receptacles within the area of the farmers’ market.
        • Litter removal on site and within 300 feet of the boundaries of the farmers’ market.
        • Access to adequate sanitary facilities, including restrooms and/or portable sinks and toilets within 200 feet of the farmers’ market.
    • Small farmers’ markets cannot operate on a vacant parcel or lot. 

      Small farmers’ markets cannot operate on a vacant parcel or lot but only on a parcel at which there is an active and legally permitted activity with which the farmers’ market can share support facilities such as parking, restrooms or garbage collection. If your plans for your farmers’ market include items on the above list that are not allowed in a small farmers’ market, such as higher ratio of nonagricultural producers to agricultural producers or the desire to have amplified music to feature local performers, you should consider the City of San Jose’s rules not as an impediment, but as a road map. You can begin operations of your small farmers’ market and begin to build your customer base while going through the permitting process with the City of San Jose to convert your small certified farmers’ market into a general certified farmers’ market once the permitting process has been completed.

    A Guide to Opening Small Farmers' Markets in San Jose, California