Iowa Farmers’ Market Development Manual

Market Start-up and Development

For the consumer, farmers’ markets provide a variety of fresh produce at a reasonable price, while creating a fun social event for the community. Many consumers prefer to purchase fresh locally grown produce if given the opportunity to do so. Consumers enjoy a wide selection of products while supporting local agriculture and meeting the farmers who grow their food.

For the new producer, farmers’ markets represent one of the only outlets available for gaining production and marketing expertise while contemplating the possibility of expanding product volume. The market vendor may maintain a small-scale level of production for the simple pleasure of gardening and visiting with friends and neighbors during market hours. Others, however, may aspire to large-scale production over time, earning substantial income while maintaining a lifestyle that is more closely related to farming. In either case, the farmers’ market provides the grower with the opportunity to discover what consumers’ demand in product quality, quantity and variety.

The purpose of this “how to” development manual is to provide an easy-to-use reference guide for those who want to start a new market, expand an existing market, or participate in the selling of goods. The 11 parts address specific topics that are vital to establishing and maintaining a vibrant market. Please contact the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Bureau of Horticulture and Farmer’s Markets at 515-281-8232 if you have questions regarding this manual or farmers’ markets.

Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship


Bill Northey


Published July 12, 2017 Link to Resource

< Back to Resource Library