Before you attempt to start a market in your area, do some research!
Are there already enough farmers markets in your area? Too many markets mean that farmers and other vendors can lose money, and be less successful due to too many choices for consumers. Consider supporting already existing markets in your area before starting a new one.
Can you get enough farmers and ranchers? The processed foods, arts and craft vendors are important to a market, but farms are the biggest draw in the summer season. If you do not have enough farms, your market will not be as successful.
Do you have enough parking? Lack of close parking is one of the biggest complaints that markets hear constantly. Evaluate your prospective location for parking during the time frame the market will be running.
Is there shade, and vehicle access to the market location for unloading? Farms especially, and other vendors who sell products that could wilt or melt in the sun, need shade, more than just a tent canopy can provide. Without shade, their products will be unsellable after just a short time. Vendors should also be able to unload their vehicles as close to their market space as possible. Vendors who have thousands of pounds of gear and inventory cannot haul those things long distances from their cars.
Here are some more resources to help you if you are considering starting a farmer’s market.
List of Considerations for New Markets (PDF) developed by Cooperative Extension, Colorado State University, by Martha Sullins is certain to help with your planning.
Farmers Market Coalition hosts a FAQ from Market Managers that reflects learning from across the country that will aid your explorative and ongoing discussions.
Marketshare, a program of marketumbrella.org, gives a summary of funding and financing alternatives.
The Agribusiness Marketing Report (PDF) from Cooperative Extension, Colorado State University, by Dawn Thilmany covers marketing, organizational and regulatory issues to consider.
The Colorado Farm to Market website helps you navigate the road from farm to market. This site was developed to familiarize Colorado food producers and food product manufacturers with federal, state and local food licensing regulations and to help ensure that the path food travels from farm to fork is safe.
Here’s a good Overview on Market Safety and Risk Management from Colorado Farm to Market.
Also, see CFMA’s Safety Guidelines