Trust but Verify Practical Tips to Build Vendor Integrity at Your Farmers Market
Farmers, as well as shoppers, rely on farmers markets to check all vendors’ claims and business practices. Because trust is a core feature of the farmers market brand, this task is critical. However, it is increasingly challenging given the diversity of operations, number of products, regional microclimates, layers of permits, distances between farms and markets, as well as language, literacy, and technology divides. In states without official certification programs, few market managers have the skills and knowledge needed to verify every vendor—even if they had the time and travel budget to do so.
In this presentation, Colleen Donovan of Washington State University’s Small Farms Program will map out current issues concerning “farmers market integrity” and present an overview of how different farmers markets around the country certify farms and markets. She will also share an approach developed by a Market Integrity Advisory Team in Washington State and practical tips, such as “desk audits,” that market managers can do if they are not part of a certification program or able to visit farms.
Desk Audits Notes (pdf)