Twenty-nine educational garden programs across the state were awarded vegetable and flower seed packets from the SDSU Extension Seed Bank this spring. Seeds were donated by Master Gardeners, seed dealers, individuals, and clubs across the state to assist youth and adult programs that are utilizing a garden to provide education. SDSU Extension is storing the seeds and coordinating the seed bank effort.
Organizing a new farmers market is a dynamic process. The end results should fit the unique needs and demands of each farmers market and will likely be different for each community. The following five steps were developed from the suggestions of market managers from South Dakota during a 2012 focus group, and each step has been widely used by markets in South Dakota and across the United States.
Ten youth and school gardens received funding this spring to launch or enhance garden programs across the state. SDSU Extension and the Community and Family Extension Leaders provided funding for the $150 mini-grants. The gardens can use the funds to purchase seeds, plants or small garden equipment or utilize the award to purchase programming materials.
New farmers markets that wish to be vendor-run should consider forming a Market Association. Research shows 25% micro size market (5-8 vendors) establish board of directors, but as they grow to a small size (9-30 vendors), 65% decide to establish board of directors (1). The Market Association will provide an organized structure for the market, while ensuring that the market is managed by vendors.
Sometimes, understanding the difference between farmers market rules and farmers market bylaws is confusing. Yet, market rules and market bylaws are different documents with different goals. The market rules are directed to vendors and relate to the daily operation of the farmers market. Market rules are often displayed on a market’s webpage for potential new vendors or customers to access and read.
At farmers markets, growers have the option to sell produce by weight. If they choose to do so, they will need to meet the South Dakota laws regarding certified scales. South Dakota Codified Law requires any device used in a commercial transaction to be an approved NTEP (National Type Evaluation Program) device, meet the requirements of the NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) Handbook 44, and to be certified and sealed (inspected) by the State of South Dakota Department of Weights and Measures. This includes countertop scales, typically found at farmers markets.
Planning for a food hub in southeastern South Dakota continues this spring. The dedication of a group of some twenty – thirty producers has given strong life to this potential new market for food products produced locally. The planning in South Dakota is progressing towards reality. Producers have voted to adopt the name, “Dakota Fresh” for their hub, and are working on and LLC structure with membership fees for voting rights.
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.
Farmers markets are unique because they represent multiple, individual vendors under a single name, location and organizational identity. Before the first selling day, a farmers market will need to do many of the things that each vendor does for their farm. For example, selecting a name and creating a logo for the market. In this sense, starting a new farmers market is similar to starting a new business.
Farmers markets may be interested in creating a vendor application. This document provides an opportunity to collect contact information from potential vendors and update information from returning vendors. Typically, all vendors fill out an application each year before the beginning of the selling season. In some markets, products and new vendors will be reviewed and accepted by the board.
SDSU Extension provides regular updates for garden educators though their Garden-Based Education Newsletter. This newsletter features lesson ideas linked to core subject areas, garden stories featuring projects across the state of South Dakota, horticultural information, links to educational videos, links to current grant opportunities, and a Pick it! Try It! Like It! feature- a produce item from the garden with recipe, preparation video and supporting lesson plans.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The marketing of farm fresh eggs to the general public at farmers markets requires egg producers to obtain a Class A Egg-Dealer Candling/Grader license from the SD Department of Agriculture (DOA). The application can be obtained at the SD DOA website.
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.
The following article contains a complete collection of helpful resources about the production, grading, certification, verification, pricing, and safe handling of fruits.
The following article contains information on producing, harvesting, grading, and marketing fresh vegetables and herbs in South Dakota.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This iGrow Local Foods article provides information on certifications, licenses & permits for local food growers and merchants.
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.
Local food producers are often faced with questions about labeling. These resources can assist producers in creating labels that are accurate and effective.
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.
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.
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.