Application Processes for Farmers and Vendors

Once you have identified the types of farmers and vendors that you would like to include in your farmers’ market and are ready to begin recruiting farmers and vendors, you will need to have a system in place to bring them into your market.

Your application form should include spaces for the farmers and vendors to provide you with all of the information that you will need to keep in touch with them: contact name, business name, mailing address, and phone numbers, email address, etc. Think about what additional paperwork you would like to maintain for each farmer or vendor and include that list with the application.

  • For farmers, you may want copies of their certified producers’ certificate and their organic registration or certification if they are selling organic products.
  • For nonagricultural vendors, you may want a description of their products, copies of health permits for their production site, or copies of a sellers’ permit if the vendor will be selling taxable goods.
  • For both farmers and vendors, if you have requirements that they have general liability insurance that meets certain requirements, you may want to request copies of proof of insurance.

Some farmers’ market operators charge an application fee to cover the costs of collecting and processing this information each year. The decision about whether or not to collect a fee is yours. If you choose to collect a fee, be sure the amount of the fee is clearly indicated on the application and that it is clear if there are penalties for not paying the fee. For example, some farmers’ market operators will not process an application until a fee is paid and some may cause their farmers to lose seniority in their farmers’ market if a fee is not paid in a timely manner each year. You should state too if the application fee is refundable if you choose to not admit the farmer to your farmers’ market.

You can look at the applications used by other farmers’ market operators for additional ideas about how to create your application process. Markets with applications online include Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture/Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market, Old Monterey Marketplace, Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market Association, Sustainable Economic Enterprises of Los Angeles, and Urban Village. The website URLs for each of these application forms can be found in Appendix D.

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