More than ever, it is critical for farmers’ markets to remain open as a critical food access point. To that end, below you’ll find a variety of resources we’ve pulled together from all over the country. These resources are intended for Farmers’ Market Managers and others may find value in these.
Farmers’ Markets are an essential component of a more just and sustainable food system. Often times, farmers’ markets serve as the backbone of the local food economy, where consumers, farmers, ranchers, and the community come together to exchange goods and celebrate the wealth that their local spaces, places, and ingenuity create.
COVID-19 has fundamentally changed the farmers’ market landscape. Where we end up as COVID-19 moves forward is unclear, but it is clear now that there are significant changes to the structure of farmers’ markets for the foreseeable future. Largely, markets are no longer seen as an event space, but rather more strictly as a place to get foods efficiently from farmers and ranchers to consumers.
COVID-19 Farmers Market Advocacy Toolkit by the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association
A distillation of documents and resources for communities and farmers’ market managers to effectively advocate for Farmers’ Markets to remain open during COVID-19. Includes sample advocacy letters, Strategic Advocacy Worksheet, Guidelines for Operational Practices, and others.
Illinois Farmers’ Market Survey by the Illinois Farmers’ Market Association
Survey and report on impact of farmers’ markets on farmer and vendor sales.
Stay Home Order – Farmers’ Market as Essential Service by the City of Austin
Page 4 of this document specifically states that Farmers’ Markets are an “essential service” and may remain open during stay-at-home orders.
National Farmers’ Market Week by the Farmers’ Market Coalition
Celebrate National Farmers’ Market Week with your customers and vendors. During COVID, it’s important to highlight how critical and essential Farmers’ Markets are to your community by highlighting: Farmers’ Markets as an essential business, Farmers’ Market organizations are local food heroes, and Farmers’ Markets are safe. FMC provides provides a variety of graphics and tools to assist with Farmers’ Market Week promotion.
Farmers’ Markets Across Nation Face Potential Economic Crisis From COVID-19 by the Farmers’ Market Coalition
Press Release from FMC highlighting the economic hardships of farmers’ market operators, which can be used to effectively communicate FM difficulties with your local community and policy makers.
Op-ed: We Must Save Farmers’ Markets by Civil Eats
Written by the Executive Directors of Farmers Market Coalition and Heart of the City Farmers’ Market, this is a solid piece on why we need to keep Farmers’ Markets open and can be used to help justify the essential-nature of your farmers’ market.
Article outlining the economic hardships facing farmers markets, which can be used as rationale and justification for FM-friendly policies or funding requests.
Variety of Customer Signage, Washington State Farmers Market Association
Probably the most comprehensive and highest quality signage for farmers’ market customer communications regarding COVID-19.
Variety of Customer Signage, Center for Disease Control (CDC)
Database of printable safe practices during COVID-19, some of which are applicable to FM’s and food retail specifically
Safe Shopping Practices, Washington State Department of Health
Printable poster on safe shopping practices.
Safe Shopping Practices, Alaska Farmers’ Market and Alaska Farmland Trust
Customer signage for safe shopping. Printable.
Variety of Safe Shopping Practices, Virginia Cooperative Extension
Variety of Customer Signage, Oregon Health Authority
Keep Our Markets Safe by the Lubbock Downtown Farmers Market
Don’t Shop While Sick by the North Carolina State University
Safe Shopping Video by the Michigan Farmers’ Market Association
A well-made video that may be applicable to many markets.
See the links below to see examples of what new rules farmers' markets in Texas and across the nation have imposed in the face of COVID-19. Many of these rule changes are consistent across markets such as social distancing, hand washing and sanitizing, and face masks. Other rules are more specific to the types of programs available at markets, such as online ordering and curbside pick up.
Scroll down to Market Operations
Procedures for Sanitation and Diagnosed Employees by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture
Example of state-level guidance on meeting sanitation requirements and how to address employees diagnosed with COVID.
Farmers Market and On-Farm Market Guidance for Operating in “Green” Counties by the Penn State Extension
For Farmers’ Markets in Texas, this is a good example of guidance from Pennsylvania on how to adjust FM policy based on a phased-approach to loosening restrictions on food businesses.
COVID-19 Farmers’ Market Response and Best Practices by the California Alliance of Farmers Markets
A compilation of various farmers’ market responses to COVID-19 through policy from across California.
Example of Farmers’ Market Plan of Operations by the Washington State Farmers Market Association
Boilerplate example of FM COVID-19 policy.
COVID-19 Resources by the Oregon Farmers Market Association
A compilation of policies and best practices from across Oregon farmers’ markets.
WIC-FMNP Agreement by the USDA Food and Nutrition Services (FNS)
As of 6/5/2020, those farmers’ markets currently accepting SNAP and/or WIC, FNS is allowing FMNP state agencies to extend currently expiring agreements with authorized farmers, roadside stands, and/or farmers’ markets by one year.
Market Protocols When Vendor is COVID-19+ by the Farmers Market Coalition
Examples and step-by-step guidance on how to address the issue of vendors testing positive for COVID at farmers markets.
COVID-19 Preparedness Plan Template by the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry
Some states are requiring all essential businesses to have a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan in place in order to continue doing business. Minnesota has put together a variety of templates and docs to help businesses remain in compliance. These resources may help your market develop their own internal policies to keep stakeholders safe and stay ahead of possible future regulations.
FNS: Farmers’ Markets can operate from alternate locations by the USDA Food and Nutrition Services (FNS)
This was received via email from USDA FNS and is not listed on their website:
“As a result of the COVID national emergency, from now until October 31, 2020, Farmers’ Markets can operate from alternate locations; this option helps Markets enable their adherence to local guidance regarding capacity.
A Farmers’ Market can operate from an alternate location after leaving a voice mail for FNS at 312-353-6609 and providing the Market’s:
FNS will note the interim change and will only contact the Market, if necessary. This option remains in effect through October 31, 2020. In October 2020, FNS will revisit the continued impacts of the COVID national emergency.”
Farmers Market Physical Redesign for COVID-19 Mitigation by the Farmers’ Market Coalition
This webinar covers how farmers’ markets around the country have physically redesigned their vendor layouts and customer-flow to ensure safe shopping for vendors and customers.
Practices at Farmers’ Markets in Response to COVID-19 by the California Alliance of Farmers’ Markets
Comprehensive overviews of what a number of Farmers’ Markets are doing in California in response to COVID-19 including: market redesign and layout, customer communications, fundraising, food safety, etc.
Farmer Market-Tested Sales Platforms for Shopper Pre-Orders Webinar by the Farmers Market Coalition
This webinar focused on market-level platforms (either a sales platform or through listing vendor sites on the market website) that allow shoppers to place pre-orders to then be picked up at either a drive-through or walk-through market where vendors are required to be on-site to hand off their goods. (In some cases, these markets may also be allowing sales for some walk-in customers and may also be handling SNAP sales at their booth.) Market leaders who have been using systems using platforms such as Google Forms, Local Food Marketplace, LocalLine, SquareSpace, What’s Good among others will be presenting.
Transitioning to Online Sales by Pennsylvania Sustainable Agriculture
To weather the coronavirus pandemic, many farms and markets are turning to selling their products online. During this webinar, we review online sales strategies and platforms farmers and markets can use.
Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) by the Small Business Administration (SBA)
The deadline for this has passed, but they are still accepting applications. If you have not submitted an application, you may consider submitting one so that you are in queue should this program become funded again. Up to $10,000 in forgivable loans, then loans available up to $2 million at ~1% interest (not forgivable).
Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) by the Small Business Administration (SBA)
Apply by August 8th, 2020. This is a forgivable loan that can include up to 2.5 months of payroll for qualifying businesses. Apply early, as past rounds of funds have been portioned based on when applicants applied.
Farm Aid Emergency Relief Fund by Farm Aid
Farm Aid - in partnership with Texas Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (TOFGA) and Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance (FARFA) - made funds available for a number of regions across the nation in response to COVID. The funds for Texas have been depleted, but there may be future fundings.
Check your local city, county, and state economic development agencies to see if there are any COVID-19 financial relief funds that your farmers’ market may qualify for. Here are some examples of local relief funds in Texas. Many of these deadlines have passed, but they serve as examples where funds may be found:
Wilco Forward, Williamson County, TX
Harris County Small Business Relief Fund, Harris County, TX
COVID-19 Recovery Grant Program for Small Businesses and Nonprofits, City of San Antonio
El Paso Strong, City of El Paso