Farmer's Markets

Farm MarketConsumers have become increasingly aware of the importance of fresh food, and want to know where their food comes from, how it is grown, and how it is processed. Locally grown food can meet some of these demands. This tool explains how farmers' markets can provide locally grown produce and other foods, and how they can help the local economy.

A farmers' market is a seasonal commercial land use that is typically permitted by zoning ordinances as a "by-right" land use within a commercial or business zoning district, and is often permitted as an accessory use to the primary activity on the site. A farmers' market is the traditional outlet for farmers to sell their products to the local community, and it directly connects the community with fresh produce that was locally grown.


Farm MarketFarmers' markets can provide the following benefits:


Farmers' markets could be limited by:

How to Use This Tool

Farm MarketIf a municipality is to be proactive in attracting a farmers' market, ordinance language should be created that would permit markets in locations that would cause the least disruption to adjacent areas. Typically, farmers' markets operate only on a limited weekly schedule, and zoning ordinances can permit them as by-right uses or as accessory uses. The impacts in the vicinity of the market are usually temporary, but they could nevertheless be disruptive. A land development plan may be required, but this may be waived by the municipality when the proposed market is limited in size and duration, when traffic issues are not anticipated, or if existing non-impervious areas are to be used and no stormwater management facilities are required.

The market's parking area should have two access points to the surrounding road network, but a one-way internal traffic flow should be used. Parking areas should be separated from the market stall and pedestrians areas. A plan showing the location of the road's access points, the parking lot and the stall area should be part of the permit application. The municipality should also consider requiring the farmers' market to provide trash containers for both the stall operators and customers. Other public amenities such as restrooms, water fountains and shaded seating at the market site would be desirable.


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