Winter Reading for Market Managers

By: Nina Budabin McQuown       Posted On: November 10, 2022

Capitol Hill Neighborhood Farmers Market in Seattle, WA

Summer is definitely over–despite the last few green tomatoes hanging around on my drooping backyard vines–and many markets are slowing down for the season, closing up shop entirely, or moving into smaller or warmer digs for winter. The darker months ahead are a great time for lots of things: drinking hot beverages, cross-country skiing, avoiding urban curb slush, and of course, catching up on your reading. At the Farmers Market Coalition, we host a number of libraries stuffed with farmers market-specific resources to help you plan improvements to your market’s systems for next year. Thinking of adding SNAP/EBT to your payment options? Considering joining a nutrition incentive project? Want to revamp the tech at your central booth? See below for Farmers Market Coalition’s top requested resources, then grab your laptop and a warm blanket and get cozy as you plan for next year.


Thinking about getting your farm or market SNAP authorized? We’ve got you covered. Join FMC’s team for a brief overview on authorization and overall market preparations. This recently revamped guide walks markets through how to become authorized to accept the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps. You’ll get help on how to apply for an FNS number, how to get an EBT card reader, how to select and distribute scrip at your market, reimbursements, records, marketing, and evaluating your program. See also the brand new course from the Texas Center for Local Food for another FREE multimedia walkthrough of the process.

Technology Guides

Need to know how to choose a card reader device for EBT? Not sure what questions to ask a technology company representative as you decide between providers? Want to avoid common mistakes? Thinking about e-tokens and not sure where to start? FMC’s Technology Manager Katie Myhre, along with our partners in the field through the Nutrition Incentive Hub, has created a wealth of technology resources for market managers. These are some of the most-requested resources FMC has!

The Farm Direct Nutrition Incentive Guide Site 

If you’re running nutrition incentives at your market, thinking about starting an incentives program, or even wondering what nutrition incentives are, check out the Farm Direct Nutrition Incentives Guide Site! With an ever-growing collection of more than 400 resources, the Guide Site is a deep resource for you whether you’re contemplating signage, thinking about starting a community ambassador program, or anything between and beyond. For brand new folks, Nutrition Incentives 101 lays out the hows and whys of nutrition incentives. The Guides pages walk you through a few of our best-in-class resources for planning, implementing, promoting, evaluating, and reiterating incentives at your market, and finally, the fully-searchable library of over 400 resources has everything an operator might need—from templates to quick-guides to research from across the field. 

The Anti-Racist Farmers Market Toolkit

Developed by a group of Black food systems leaders and market managers the Anti-Racist Farmers Market Toolkit offers ways for managers to put the concepts of anti-racism into practice and action within farmers markets. The work is intended to improve market experiences for Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) and BIPOC communities; however, the authors’ lens explicitly centers Black people and Black communities. For more on the toolkit, see the process blogs on the Work Group’s experience of designing and developing the toolkit with administrative support from FMC. Markets can also request to work directly with the work group members through workshops and consultancy. For more great resources on Anti-Racist work in farmers markets, see the extensive offerings within the toolkit, and this excellent resource page generously shared by the Oregon Farmers Market Association.

The Farmers Market Legal Toolkit

Want to know how other markets craft their rules? Wondering whether to be an LLC or a 501c3? Have questions about how your market should comply with the ADA? The Farmers Market Legal Toolkit is an essential resource for every market manager. Continually edited and updated by students at the Center for Agriculture and Food Systems at the Vermont Law School, this toolkit provides open-source tools in response to frequently asked questions from market managers.

Metrics Evaluation Library

Last but far from least, winter is a great time to make plans for evaluation in the season ahead. In addition to FMC’s Evaluation 101 page, you can find evaluation resources including downloadable offline forms, in the Metrics Library, while the FMC library includes resources from farmers markets across the country, such as this Evaluation Plan from Ypsilanti Farmers Market in Michigan.

Just like seed catalogs in January, resources for planning your market in winter help prepare the ground for a great next season. Let us know what you loved and what questions you still have as you page through these offerings!