The first step to forming a new farmers market is to form a planning team. Keep the team small enough so that it is simple, small and manageable.
In some cases, the market manager is the key person in the daily operation of the market. He or she generally reports to the board of directors and is appointed by the board. The market manager can be a vendor or a non-vendor. This single person is appointed and expected to complete all of the tasks specifically assigned to the market manager.
We do market research to find answers to our market feasibility questions. These facts should support what you already know about your business’ potential. Be sure to properly cite the source of your internet market research. Government websites, universities, trade associations and financial publications are generally considered reliable sources of information.
Assess the interest of food entrepreneurs to determine if vendors will support a new farmers market. The ability to find vendors who have similar goals for the farmers market experience is critical to getting started. At least three or four vendors must commit to selling at a regular market to ensure enough variety and quantity to keep the market viable.
SARE's vision is an enduring American agriculture of the highest quality. This agriculture is profitable, protects the nation's land and water and is a force for a rewarding way of life for farmers and ranchers whose quality products and operations sustain their communities and society.
South Dakota currently has about sixty farmers markets. This online guidebook was created to assist new and developing markets in the state. New content will be added to this article frequently, please check back for more information.
The following iGrow Local Foods article contains information on a variety of different local food grant opportunities available in South Dakota.
In the spring of 2013, a South Dakota farmers market manager inquired, “Is there one place where farmers market vendors can see all the rules that apply to vendors—what they can sell, what they can't sell, the testing of canned goods, rules for eggs, cheese, or beef, rules about scales weights and measures, rules about free samples, etc?”
In 2013, the Murdo Area Farmers Market had a successful first season. The market organizers collaborated with experienced vendors, SDSU Extension and the SD Buy Fresh, Buy Local program.
The South Dakota Specialty Producers Association (SDSPA) was founded in October of 2001. SDSPA President, Pat Garrity, said, “The original intent for the SDSPA was to create an umbrella organization to represent several of the smaller organizations in the state. We wanted to create this organization so that all of the smaller groups could have a stronger impact – from grants, to policy, to marketing.”
SDSU Extension is pleased to offer guidance on establishing youth & school gardens projects in your community. We offer project coaching, curriculum assistance, access to our ‘Seed Bank Grant’ and the ‘CFEL Children’s Garden Grant,’ the ‘Youth in the Garden’ Webinar series, and other educational trainings.
Community gardens are associated with urban areas and food production. However, community gardens can also be used as job training sites or small business incubators. There are many examples of these types of programs across the US.
Interested in starting a school garden to utilize with your students for hands-on learning. SDSU Extension is pleased to offer staff to help coach teams as they establish a school garden.
Resources for growing at your school or community garden should be shared with participants, especially those new to the process. Garden educators may be excited about using the garden as a teaching tool, but may have limited horticultural backgrounds.
Community gardens grow more than vegetables, flowers and herbs. New relationships form, people get physical exercise, and fresh local food can be provided for community members. There are many forms of community gardens.
Learn more about Native American community garden projects throughout South Dakota and access helpful resources with information on starting up Native American community garden projects.
Novice gardeners and master gardeners share a love of and respect for nature, which is one of the many reasons why they naturally seek out like-minded individuals to organize clubs or associations. Many cities and counties have their own clubs or associations and the following is not a complete listing, but rather a beginning resource for connecting with others in the gardening community.
Local food producers may be interested in marketing dairy products such as milk and cheese. In South Dakota, the Department of Agriculture is the regulatory agency that oversees applications and other laws regarding dairy production in the state.
The wine industry in South Dakota has experienced steady growth over the past 10 years, and demand for locally grown, high-quality wine grapes is strong.
In 2010 the South Dakota “Home-Processed Foods Law” came into effect allowing for sale of home baked goods at farmer’s markets and similar venues. In 2011, a new section was added to this law expanding on the sale of home-baked goods.
According to the SD Dept. of Agriculture, there are about 216 South Dakotans keeping bees. Around 93 of these producers maintain their bees on a commercial scale. South Dakota usually ranks in the top five states for number of hives (colonies).
In South Dakota the Department of Agriculture Feed & Animal Remedy Program is the agency that oversees the manufacturing, licensing and labeling of animal feeds and remedies. Local foods producers interested in selling pet foods or pet treats need to be in compliance with this program.
This article provides information on food safety concerns at selling locations such as a farmers market. It also provides information on how producers should encourage their customers to treat frozen meats and poultry in order to prevent food safety issues.
Pricing your products: Survey results done at four farmers markets in Oregon identified the reasons why meat and poultry eaters did not buy meat at farmers markets. The top three reasons included: (1) It costs too much, (2) Inconvenience, and (3) Food safety concerns.
The following article contains information on producing, harvesting, grading, and marketing fresh vegetables and herbs in South Dakota.
The following article contains a complete collection of helpful resources about the production, grading, certification, verification, pricing, and safe handling of fruits.
Fresh, whole raw fruits and vegetables grown in South Dakota can currently be sold without any regulatory requirements. However, once a raw fruit or vegetable is processed, South Dakota law requires that certain regula¬tions must be followed in order to ensure the safety of the product.
This series of online articles and publications were created to assist local food producers in marketing their products. Marketing is all about communication. These articles feature different methods of communicating to reach new customers. From business cards to unique promotion ideas, this series contains plenty of ideas for food entrepreneurs.
Considering starting a local food business in South Dakota? Whether you are thinking of becoming a farm marketer, a food processors or a foodservice vendor, planning out your business will help you build a strong foundation. Here are resources that will help you in the planning process.
Hospitals, nursing homes, universities and other institutional buyers have the potential for large volume sales on a recurring basis. This could create a reliable customer for the grower and also allow the grower to focus on larger production acres of a smaller number of crops.
Local food producers have a variety of options for marketing their products. Consider on-farms sales for those interested in connecting directly with the consumer at the farm. The set-up could include a farm store, a U-pick or Pick-Your-Own operation and other agritourism components. These features will be appealing to people seeking extremely fresh produce, canners and cooks that are seeking large quantities of product at a reduced cost, and families looking for a weekend activity, wanting their children to experience farm life and food production.
Farm to School is broadly defined as a program that connects schools (K-12) and local farms with the objectives of serving healthy meals in school cafeterias, improving student nutrition, providing agriculture, health and nutrition education opportunities, and supporting local and regional farmers. Every day millions of children eat at least one meal at their school.
Grocery and food retail outlets will require producers to supply larger quantities of product on a consistent basis. There will be more pressure for uniform products that meet specifications and packaging standards, depending on the size of the store. There will be variation in requirements between small niche stores and large regionally owned chains.
The term “farmer’s market” is often applied to a variety of businesses and social structures. It is not uncommon to see a roadside stand labeled as such. It may also be used at a grocery store above the produce section or even within a restaurant menu.
Local foods communities across the nation are working together to form cooperative networks in attempt to have a large portion of local food sales while reducing inputs. Working together to streamline issues related to production processes and inputs, distribution, processing, use or consumption, recycling and disposal of food wastes, and support services to operate can all be explored as individuals begin to collaborate. These articles provide some options for exploring producer and community partnerships.
The restaurant and commercial foodservice industry offers a potential market for local food producers. Businesses range from limited or quick-service dining to full-service restaurants. When exploring this market also consider connecting with foodservice operations within other venues, such as hotels, country clubs, airports, and entertainment and sporting event venues.
CSA is short for Community Supported Agricultural, and it is an alternative market that has gained popularity across the nation as well as in South Dakota. This type of program allows a farmer to sell subscriptions or shares to customers prior to the growing season.
This iGrow Local Foods article provides information on certifications, licenses & permits for local food growers and merchants.
There are numerous regulatory agencies, applications, deadlines, and licenses that are required to sell some locally produced products. However, other products may require very few regulatory aspects. Review the specific products below for details on selling them locally.
Many farmers markets accept only check and cash for purchases. While this system is sufficient, accepting all forms of electronic purchases can open up new opportunities for the market. First, electronic purchases will provide sales data to the market. This data can be used to track growth and understand buying patterns and trends throughout the year.
For growers selling produce and products locally, food safety must be a priority. There are several stages where food is at risk for becoming contaminated and dangerous for customers to eat. The following articles provide links and information to growers about best practices for food safety at each stage where contamination can occur.
If a vendor plans to sell any kind of tangible personal property (TPP), products delivered electronically, or provide a taxable service a sales tax license must be obtained. This includes sales in person, at special events, by phone, internet, or catalog. There is no minimum sales amount required before becoming licensed. No fee is charged for a sales tax license.
Within South Dakota there are multiple departments and agencies to assist you with fulfilling required business and food safety regulations as a producer.
According to the United State Department of Agriculture National Organic Program, “Organic is a labeling term that specifies that the food or other agricultural product has been produced through accepted methods using cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity.
The South Dakota State Legislature passed a bill in 2010 that allowed for the sale of home baked goods and home canned foods at farmer’s markets and similar venues. Refer to the publications in this article to learn what you can do regarding this law.
South Dakota State University can assist with developing nutrition fact labels for products you are developing with plans to sell, or if you simply want nutrition information for your favorite recipe.
The South Dakota Department of Health Office of Health Protection serves as the regulatory body enforcing the South Dakota Foodservice Code. If within the city of Sioux Falls, the Sioux Falls Department of Health is the regulatory authority for all foodservice types of establishments.