HOW TO START A FARMERS' MARKET
Organisers Rose Brettell and Susan Garner started with the idea of Wild Oats in 1997 after having been involved with corporate fundraising in Johannesburg for over 15 years. The seed idea contained several principles: a market for farmers and food producers only, as craft markets are already plentiful; a weekly market, as this constitutes a sustainable routine for producers; contracted vendors who can participate every single Saturday, as this creates reliability for the customers; a garden-party atmosphere with permanent structures for ease of setup which avoids the common gazebo-feel that characterises most other markets; backing of the local farmers' associations, as this provides a forum of farmers who can put forward their needs and ideas; and finally, a legal contract which clearly states the rights and obligations of both organisers and vendors.
Please note that Wild Oats is not a receipe! As with any business, Wild Oats is personality-driven! Taking a wider perspective on the needs of the context and what is sustainable, reasonable, fun, worthwhile and necessary, organisers are required to say "yes" and "no" to a continuous flow of queries and requests. How the market takes shape is based on very personal, considered responses and personal taste!
The particular policies and conditions for running a market will vary according to the needs of the context. These evolve over time through experience. Many legal protections (such as public liability) require professional consideration. An internet search on farmers' markets worldwide is a good reference to guidelines for those wishing to begin. As we are not consultants, we ask that you do your own research within your own community to structure your own market policies.