BC Association of Farmers' markets
Supporting BC farmers and sustaining our local food supply means ensuring we have land to farm and fresh food to eat. It's a way to nurture the places we live and visit.

2012 Strengthening Farmers' Markets

2012 Strengthening Farmers' Markets

Every farmers’ market evolves - whether you are a start up market with a volunteer board that runs the entire show, or a multi committee governing board with paid management.  Board and staff members change, and organizations evolve along with the people that run them.

Professional development is critical to the continued growth and success of any organization. Through this process, organizations are able to evaluate where they are, what they are doing and where they are going.

The workshops referenced in this section were organized as part of the Vancity enviroFund Strengthening Farmers’ Markets project in 2012/13. They were developed specifically to address the needs of BCAFM member farmers’ markets as assessed through surveys and networking meetings.

Beyond the growth and development of participating markets, a legacy of these workshops is available in the form of power point presentations, workbooks and examples.

Check below for opportunities to participate in future workshops. The contact information for the workshop facilitators is detailed with the workshop listings. We encourage you to contact the facilitators directly with any inquiries about providing a workshop for your market. We highly recommended these facilitators and workshops.


Thank you to our project funder:

Professional Development Resources

Click on links below to jump to each section.

Stages of Farmers’ Market Development

The following stages of farmers’ market development were created by Dr. David Connell, a professor in the School of Environmental Planning at the University of Northern British Columbia.

The following criteria will help you identify your market’s current stage of development, as well as how to can work towards reaching the next stage of your market’s evolution.

1) Creation

Composition: founding members

Focus: getting organized, operating market, immediate needs

Outlook: short-term, often with either little planning or few details

Issues: lack of coordination, challenge to think beyond present problems and opportunities

2) Working

Composition: founding or new members

Focus: growth (or lack of growth), operating market, managing new staff and delegating responsibilities, some policy development

Outlook: short-term, with some concern for medium-term issues

Issues: too much focus on growth rather than development; managing transition from operations to governance

3) Managing

Composition: new members, some founders

Focus: stability (including steady growth); policy development and governance, more interest in financial management as budget grows; managing staff

Outlook: short-term, with more concern for planning to support long-term stability

Issues: board struggles with a variety of roles; board staff relations as staff take on more responsibilities; managing change when founding objectives or vision need to be altered or let go; staff turnover

4) Governing

Composition: new members, returning members, some founders

Focus: governance (fiduciary responsibilities); established roles

Outlook: medium-term with longer-term strategic planning

Issues: improving accountability and evaluation; staff turnover

Board Governance

Whether your market has only started operating in the last 2-3 years or is well established, Board Governance training and resources will be of value if you are seeking more clarity on how key decisions for your market are made, and the relationship between your board members and your market manager.


David Lee, Propellor Advisors
T: 778-889-9981
E: david@propelloradvisors.ca


Business Planning

Learn about the fundamentals and benefits of creating a business plan. Explore your business objectives, success factors, competition, your competitive advantage and your market potential.  


Grant Writing

These resources will provide you with a strong foundation in grant writing, and will give you the opportunity to practice your skills. Learn about grants and giving, granting organizations, identification and research, cultivation and solicitation, acknowledgement and stewards and letters of intent.


Vivian Smith, CFRE, Liberty Quest Enterprises
T: 604-530-5404
F: 604-530-5408
E: info@libertyquest.ca


Market Manager Training

Market Managers and Boards of Directors from small, medium or large Farmers' Markets will find relevant information in this training session. Whether new or experienced, all members of your market management team are encouraged to take this opportunity to network and share your experiences and the challenges of managing a market or a non-profit society.

Research has found that one of the main reasons Farmers Markets fail to thrive is due to lack of skills and experience of Market Managers and Boards of Directors. With an eye on building a strong Farmers Market network across the province, the BCAFM encourages you to take part in this unique opportunity to build the skills necessary to increase the success of your Farmers' Market.

Dr Jenny Horn, Vancouver Island University
T: 250-597-1024
E: Jenny.Horn@viu.ca


Marketing and Communications & Branding

The resources below are designed to help you understand the fundamentals of marketing, and how to apply them to your social enterprise (and farmers’ market!). The Social Enterprise Marketing Toolkit is divided into four modules, each of which is presented in a video. During each module, you'll be invited to complete exercises, either yourself, or with your team, and a series of worksheets are included to help you. The videos are most useful when viewed in sequence, but you can come back to any or all of them to refresh your memory, or to dive more deeply into some of the exercises.


Mike Rowlands, Junxion Strategies
T: 604-681-8308 x 700
Toll free: +1 888.681.8308

Megan Sheldon, Junxion Strategies
T:  604-781-7923
Toll free: +1 888.681.8308



The MarketSafe Program is a food safety training program for farmers, food processors and producers who make, bake or grow products to sell at farmers' markets, farm gates or other types of temporary markets. MarketSafe was developed by BC FOODSAFE in partnership with the BC Association of Farmers' Markets.

This is an interactive classroom based course facilitated by instructors who have been certified by the Regional Health Authorities. Participants who successfully complete the MarketSafe course will receive a recognized MarketSafe Certificate of Completion from the Health Authority in their area. Participants will also take home the MarketSafe Student Workbook.

MarketSafe was developed by the BC FOODSAFE Secretariat in partnership with the BC Association of Farmers' Markets, and funded in part by the Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC through Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Advancing Canadian Agriculture and Agri-Food (ACAAF) program.

The program is supported by the Regional Health Authorities, the BC Centre for Disease Control and the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands.




Strategic Planning

Discover what a strategic plan is and why it’s so important to the success of your organization. Use the following resources to explore how to set high-level direction, ensure good board governance, allocate funding towards achieving your organizational goals, and ensure the long-term viability of your organization. 


Karen Buchamer, Vantage Point
T: 604-875-9144
F: 604-875-0710
E: info@thevantagepoint.ca



The information [in the online Marketing & Communications workshop] was clear and precise and simple enough for us to incorporate in our Strategic planning for this season…. It couldn’t have set the information more permanently into our minds. So when it came to planning our marketing for this season, we were easily able to determine the strategy behind our new advertising campaign.…our new Board Chair attended the Governance Workshop. The knowledge that he acquired at the workshop was useful in determining our Mission, Vision and supported our endeavors in applying for our own Non-Profit status. Beyond our registration process as a separate society we are certain that the Governance workshop information will continue to support us as we function as a new society.

- Pemberton Farmers’ Market Association

We thank you for your support and the opportunity to attend the follow training programs: Grant Writing, Business & Strategic Planning, Marketing & Communications. The following accomplishments of the Salt Spring Tuesday Market Committee exemplify the benefits of the three training programs in which our market manager and board members participated:

  • Developed a one year strategic plan and will complete a five year plan at the end of this market season.
  • Applied for grant funding to accelerate the growth and success of the market based on the goals of the strategic plan.
  • Improved grant reporting strategies.
  • Planned to develop a marketing strategy in consultation with Junxion Strategy.
  • Embraced a business oriented approach to market operations.
  • Our confidence and ability has improved as a result of these training programs.
  • Our board is inspired and excited to be moving forward with a more transparent, accountable and capable market structure.

- The Salt Spring Tuesday Market Steering Committee