Farmers' Markets Vendors

Subscribe to our free E-Newsletter, "Agri-News" (formerly RTW This Week)Agri-News
This Week
Market Vendor | Food Safety | Other Resources

Market Vendor

Farmers’ markets are the most popular of the farm direct marketing channels – by both vendors and customers alike. From a vendor viewpoint, there are several benefits to selling at an approved farmers’ market:
    1. Incubator and testing ground: Farmers’ markets are a venue where small businesses can “test the waters” to see how popular their products are with customers. It is a place where a vendor can receive immediate feedback from customers with regards to taste, quantity, packaging, price, additional product ideas, salesmanship, etc.
    2. Guaranteed crowd and location: Farmers’ markets tend to attract much larger crowds than individual businesses, making your potential customer base much larger. In addition, the farmers’ market provides a stable location with adequate parking and other amenities that customers demand.
    3. Group advertising: Farmers’ markets provide group advertising for the market as a whole which benefits all vendors. This is typically paid for from the table fees or by the sponsoring body.
    4. Learning opportunities: Vendors can develop and hone entrepreneurial skills at a farmers’ market as well as learn from others who may have been in the business for many years.
    5. Price maker: Farmers’ market vendors set their own price, eliminate the middleman and receive immediate payment for their product sales. Studies indicate that farmers’ market vendors receive between 40% - 80% more than selling their products through wholesale channels.
    6. Minimal start up costs: Costs for selling at a farmers’ market are typically much lower when compared to setting up your own retail operation either on-farm on in the local community.
Food Safety

Farmers' Market Food Safety Home Study Course
The safety of the food being sold at approved farmers’ markets is critical to the success of farmers’ markets in Alberta. Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (AF) is committed to ensuring market managers and vendors have a minimum level of food safety training. Working in partnership with Alberta Health Services and Alberta Health, a farmers' market food safety home study course was developed and is available on-line through Alberta Health Services. The course certificate expires after three years. To renew, the course exam must be completed and submitted again.

Alberta Agriculture and Forestry is requiring that all market managers and food vendors selling at Alberta approved farmers' markets complete this course within one year of becoming a market manager or food vendor.

Exception: Completion of this course is not required for those individuals who have already completed an approved Alberta food sanitation and hygiene training program and/or who are required to complete the food safety training described under Section 31 of the Food Regulation.

Upon successful completion of the course (passing grade of 80%), you will be sent a certificate by Alberta Health Services.

Managers and vendors must display their certificates at the market. For vendors who are selling at multiple markets, a copy of the certificate is acceptable for display purposes.

A food vendor is defined as any vendor selling a food product. This includes but is not limited to fresh fruits and vegetables, protein products, and all food products that have been baked and processed. Vendors of prepackaged products, i.e. vendors operating as distributors, who do not actually handle the food product are advised to take this training but are not required to do so UNLESS they are sampling those products at the market.

Market Manager and Vendor Food Safety Checklists
These simple self-evaluation checklists highlight areas of concern in food handling at the market and will help you think about the food safety risks. They will help you identify the things that you are doing right and things that need to be changed and improved. Four different checklists are available:

Manager startup checklist;
Manager weekly checklist;
Vendor startup checklist;
Vendor weekly checklist.
For further information contact Eileen Kotowich.

Alberta Health Services Farmers' Market Information
Alberta Health Services (AHS) has compiled all their standard operating procedures (SOPs) for farmers' markets into an easy-to-read information package. These documents are provincial in nature and are used with all approved farmers' markets across Alberta. This package includes:

  • Information for Farmers' Market Managers and Stallholders,
  • Farmers' Market Manager's Checklist - Daily,
  • Farmers' Market Vendors' Food Safety Checklist ,
  • Farmers' Market Guidelines for Canning Lids and Jars.
Alberta Food Regulation Webinar - Update February 2018
This webinar explains what can and cannot be done under the Food Regulation with respect to food products at Alberta approved farmers' markets.

Other Resources

Marketing Information
Merchandising Video Series
This series of seven You-Tube videos provide valuable information for vendors selling at farmers' markets. Watch them all or just the ones you need tips for. Farmers' Market - Decision Making Tool
Please read the factsheet for this online tool before filling out the online calculator

How to be a Farmers' Market Vendor Information Sheet
The purpose of this information sheet is to provide information to vendors and potential vendors on selling at farmers’ markets.

Explore Local Webinar Series: These one-hour web-based seminars bring you timely information on a variety of topics - all geared to help producers and small scale processors selling into local markets access the information needed to run their businesses more effectively and profitably.
To view previously recorded webinars, go to the Explore Local Webinar page.

There are a number of publications available through Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. For hard copies of these publications, call 1-800-292-5697. You can also use our on-line order form or download them directly here.

Check out our Alberta Approved Farmers' Market Directory

Download the AB Approved Farmers' Market App and experience a farmers' market near you.

Other Related Links

Share via
For more information about the content of this document, contact Eileen Kotowich.
This document is maintained by Delores Serafin.
This information published to the web on March 16, 2016.
Last Reviewed/Revised on March 19, 2018.