The primary aim of Farmers' Markets is to support local farmers and producers, who sell produce they have grown or made to their local community.
The Farmers’ Market movement started in the UK in the 1990s as a result of poor farm prices, leading to many family farms needing a viable local route to market their produce. Today there are markets across the UK providing thousands of farmers with a real lifeline.
But what is a Farmers' Market and how do you know when you find one?
If you head to a Farmers' Market, what should you look out for? FARMA believes there are a few simple things to look out for:
You should find real life farmers trading at the market.
If the product is not a farm product you should meet with the producer; this could be the baker, cook, curer or jam maker and they should source their ingredients as close to your market as possible.
The farmers and producers should come from your area; they should be part of your community where possible. Sometimes they may come from farther afield but only if they can't get the products from a local producer.
To help you, as a consumer, to know easily whether or not you are at a "real Farmers' Market" we have created a simple certification scheme for Farmers' Markets. This is built around ten core principles.
If you go to a market and see our sign, you know it's a "real Farmers' Market". If it does not have the logo, it may be a good idea to encourage them to get involved.
The Ten Core Principles of a Real Farmers’ Market
The Farmers’ Market certification provides market organisers with the licence to state that the markets they operate in are “Real Farmers’ Markets”. To achieve this status, the market organiser or organisations must satisfy FARMA that they aim to fulfil the ten core principles of a Farmers’ Market. These principles are:
Audited:The markets are independently audited to provide customers with confidence that this is a “Real Farmers’ Market”.
Champion the farmers: Insures that customers get to buy directly from the farmers, growers and producers who grew and produced the products on sale.
Insured: All traders and markets must have suitable Public, Product, and Employment insurance in place to protect their customers.
Knowledgeable: The person selling at a “Real Farmers' Market” understands how the product has been produced from seed to plate.
Legal: All traders and markets must follow all relevant EU, UK and local laws and bylaws.
Local businesses: Markets recruit stallholders from as close to the market as possible.
Locally sourced: Ingredients sourced by a producer in the production of their goods are found as locally as possible to the market and producer.
Produced by the seller: That consumers can only buy items produced by the business that is also selling it.
Promoted: The market clearly talks to its customers about the products and farms that make this a “Real Farmers’ Market”.
Well managed: The market organiser and/or organisation has sound systems and processes in place to ensure that the above principles are enforced at all times.