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Farmers' Market Managers/Promoters

The Job

Farmers' market managers/promoters oversee markets in which farmers sell their products to consumers. Because farming is seasonal, more than two-thirds of all managers work for markets that are set up in temporary facilities. According to a survey by the Agricultural Marketing Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), farmers' markets average 48,857 square feet in size, which is about the size of a medium-sized retail grocery store. The smallest farmers' market may be 20 square feet, and the largest might be 3.4 million square feet.

As with most management positions in other industries, farmers' market managers are responsible for a variety of tasks. The vending stalls need to be filled with farmers, so managers work closely with farmers, meeting with them to promote the market, field their questions, and negotiate the terms for vending. They set up contracts, vending sites, and schedules. They also hire staff and volunteers, and manage and oversee their work. Another big part of the job is customer relations. Many management positions require previous experience in handling customers. This means not only addressing questions and concerns while on-site at the market, but responding to consumers' e-mails and phone calls when working in the office.

The Pacific Coast Farmers' Market Association describes the job requirements for a market manager as follows: making sure the market operates in compliance with state law, health regulations, and association rules and regulations; overseeing the set-up, operation, cleanliness, and shutdown of the market; collecting payment from farmers at the end of each market day; updating business logs and reports, and making bank deposits; setting up and running a market information booth to address customers' questions; and assisting in scheduling and hosting farmers' market events.

A farmers' market manager/promoter is also responsible for advertising and marketing the market to attract consumers. He or she may create the ads and flyers, or hire an artist or graphic designer to create promotions for newspapers and magazines, as well as a Web designer to work on the market's Web site. The manager/promoter also spreads word about the market by networking and building relationships with businesses located within the community where the farmers' market is located.