All posts by John

Don’t Miss the Tuesday Deadline!

I hope everyone is having a productive Monday and a Happy Halloween! I know this time of year is busy for many of you as you tie up loose ends and prepare to close down your summer markets, but please remember that tomorrow is the deadline to reserve your hotel room and receive the conference discount. After that, normal room rates will apply  and because this conference is in such a beautiful location (see the image above), the normal rates are significantly higher. Please remember that even if you got a scholarship, you still need to book your room!

For those of you who have not yet registered for conference, you’ll want to do so ASAP but whatever you do, make sure to reserve your room by tomorrow! We will still accept conference registrations for a while longer, but fees are nonrefundable after the 4th. If you missed our recent articles that go into detail about what you’ll get from each day of conference, here they are again.

Monday Night

For those of you who plan to arrive Monday night to get settled in, please join us for a Pre-Conference Reception:

Join the Farmers Market Federation of NY on Monday, November 14 as we host a pre-conference reception in the lobby of the Holiday Valley Inn. The reception will be our launch into 3 days of workshops, tours and networking opportunities. Hors d’ Oeuvres and a cash bar will be open from 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm to welcome everyone to the Annual Farmers Market Managers Conference.


Tuesday we will kick off the conference with speakers, tours, and our annual banquet in the evening. Read all about it here: If you have already bought your tickets for conference but did not purchase banquet tickets, make sure to return to the payment page and purchase banquet tickets – you do not want to miss this! Tuesday at 6:00 pm we will enjoy a local foods dinner with featured speaker Tom Rivers, author of “Farm Hands: Hard Work and Hard Lessons from Western New York Fields.”


On day two of conference, Wednesday, we will have a number of informational sessions as well as a second set of tours. Read the breakdown here:


Stay tuned later this week for a full walkthrough of the benefits of attending Thursday’s sessions. You can read all of our recent articles here or check out our popular article, 10 Reasons Not to Miss Conference

Join more than 60 managers from around the state who have already registered for conference for three days of networking, learning, local food and fun, and building our markets!

Reserve your space today at:

Seeking Qualified Nominees for the Federation Board of Directors

Seeking Qualified Nominees for the Federation Board of Directors


The Board of Directors of the Farmers Market Federation of NY is currently seeking qualified nominees for upcoming positions on the Board of Directors. This is an excellent opportunity to help shape the future of farmers markets in New York State.

The Farmers Market Federation of NY is looking for volunteers who support our mission to support and promote the viability of farmers markets through innovative services, programs and partnerships that maximize the benefits of markets to sellers, buyers and communities.

We are seeking volunteer board members with an interest in helping to steer the future direction of the Federation as we strive to build the farmers market industry in New York by:

  • Training market manager to build vibrant, sustainable markets that support local farmers, consumers and give back to their host communities;
  • Support local farmers with marketing training programs;
  • Support local farmers and consumers by participation in the SNAP program and SNAP incentives;
  • Helping communities to understand the dynamics of hosting and operating a farmers market that supports local agriculture, consumers and the local economy;
  • Promotes farmers markets as the most effective means buy local and support local farmers.

Board members are required to participate in a minimum of 2 quarterly conference call meetings and one face-to-face meeting per year. Each member is also required to participate in at least one statutory committee: finance/audit, governance, membership, advocacy and programs and services. In addition, ad hoc committees are formed, from time to time, and board members are asked to participate in ad hoc committees that are of particular interest to them. Board membership is a three year term, with a limit of 2 consecutive terms.

We seek board members who are team-oriented, are willing to volunteer time and effort to the work of the Farmers Market Federation and bring their own unique experience and skills to the work of the Board and the Federation. The Federation invites you to apply for the upcoming election of board members to be held in March 2017. We currently have 5 openings to fill at that time:

  • 1 Eastern Region: Albany, Columbia, Delaware, Fulton, Greene, Hamilton, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Schenectady and Schoharie counties
  • 1 Northern Region: Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, St. Lawrence, Saratoga, Warren and Washington counties
  • 1 Metro Region: Bronx, Dutchess, Kings, Nassau, Orange, Putnam, Queens, Rockland, Suffolk, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester counties
  • 2 Western Region: Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Niagara, Ontario, Orleans, Wayne, Wyoming and Yates counties
  • At-Large: can be from anywhere in the state

Complete the Potential Board Member Questionnaire here and return to Laura Biasillo, Federation Co-President, at [email protected]. To learn more about the role of a Farmers Market Federation of NY board member, click here. Deadline for questionnaire submission is January 21, 2017.


Could you be our next board member? We have some vacancies to fill this season so stay tuned to this post for an upcoming announcement.

We will be asking all potential board members to complete and return the following document for consideration:

Potential Board Member Questionnaire


Wednesday Session Spotlight


Our last blog article shone a spotlight on some of the sessions and happenings for the first day of conference.

Now let’s talk about some of the benefits you will get from day two of conference – Wednesday, November 16th. This is when we really get into the good stuff and talk about some of the nitty gritty details that you need to know in order to manage your market effectively.

Morning Session

Now that everyone is settled in and hopefully got a great night’s sleep at The Holiday Valley Resort and enjoyed a complimentary breakfast, it’s time to get going on day 2 of learning and networking to help you build your market. At 9:00 am, we will dive into our morning session co-presented by Jennifer Jennings of Schenecatady Greenmarket and Penelope Jewell of the Bolton Landing Farmers Markets. These two ladies are incredibly knowledgeable on the topic of Managing Vendor Diversity. This session will prepare you with all the skills needed to manage the proper mix of vendors taking into account profit margins needed to keep vendors coming back to market as well as benefits to customers of the right amount of diversity. You will learn how these two managers balance these competing priorities within their own markets and then walk away with the skills to do the same in your own market environment. Vendor mix and diversity is a critical component of managing your market effectively so we will all sit together for this morning session before breaking out into two separate sessions for our next topic of the day after the coffee and chat break.

Coffee Break & 2nd Morning Session

We will take a brief coffee break from 10:30 to 11:00 to chat with other managers about our market diversity plans as well do some networking with a new group of managers from all around the state while we enjoy some coffee and snacks. Then you will have a choice to attend one of the sessions below depending on which topic is most relevant to your market. Luckily, you won’t miss out on the other topic though because the presentation and materials will all be available on your 2016 FMFNY Conference USB Drive.

  • Topic 1 – Finding Support for Your Market, A Panel Discussion. No market is an island! A successful market has a wide base of community support and involvement from many different supporting individuals and community partners. These people and partnerships help your market thrive, but if you don’t have this level of support: How do you get it? Where do you reach out and what channels do you use? What do you say? Each of our speakers for this session is knowledgeable about a different type of market support so put together, you will have a great base of ideas to choose from to help you leverage support for your market. Speakers for this session include this great mix of ladies: Margaret Bruegel of the Fredonia Farmers Market, Susan Avery with the Southern Tier West Regional Farmers Market Network, Laura Biasillo of Cornell Cooperative Extension Broome County, Jacqueline Boyer from the NYS Dept of Agriculture and Markets and Galena Ojiem from the Farmers Market Federation of NY.
  • Topic 2 – SNAP Best Practices, co-presented by Margaret O’Neill of the Rochester Public Market, Amanda Root from Eat Smart NY, and Jesse Knoth of the SouthWedge Farmers Market, will help you discover best practices for running a SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) at your market. SNAP success is not just about applying for a terminal and training a volunteer or employee to run the terminal during market hours. Markets who are successful in bringing large amounts of SNAP customers to their market week after week know a lot of tricks in terms of marketing and promotion that can help your market’s SNAP program shine. Glean the lessons from the hard work they have already put in and begin to reap these rewards at your market as well!


At 12:30. we will breaking for lunch to enjoy more networking and a catered meal featuring more yummy local eats from the Southern Tier West Region.

Afternoon Session

While everyone is full and happy, we will enjoy an afternoon session before heading out on our choice of tours. This session focuses on some of the other resources available to help your market grow and succeed, many of which you may not have even knew existed! There is no need to reinvent the wheel when we’ve done a lot of the prep work for you. In Sharing Federation Resources, our Program Administrator, Galena Ojiem, will make you aware of all of the resources the Federation has developed over the past 17 years, so you can take full advantage. These resources encompass a wide variety of things – from market management trainings, to guidebooks, to promotional assistance, to help learning the rules and regulations required of markets, we’ve got a resource on every topic. We even have ready-made templates available for everything your market might need to create, from your market rules to your budget, from strategic planning to risk management, from site evaluations to evacuation plans. You’ll walk away from this session knowing where, how, and when to take advantage of free Federation resources as you’re going about your job as market manager.

Wednesday Tours

After the afternoon session, we will head off on today’s tours.

  • Option 1 – The first tour option will take us to The Ellicotville Brewing Company (known locally as “EBC”), a destination brewery offering exceptional beers and a full brew-pub dining experience. We will truly get behind the scenes to see how everything works at the brewery, and you can choose to stay and enjoy dinner after the tour.
  • Option 2 – Or, you can choose to join us for a visit to Blue Hill Farm & White Cow Dairy. We’ll have a chance to meet their grass and clover-fed cows who produce a rich, creamy and delicous milk and then step into their commercial kitchen to talk to the owner, Patrick Lango. Patrick will talk about his passion for sustainable farming and give us a behind-the-scenes look as well as allow us to sample some of the unique and original recipe small-batch products such as custards, yogurts, and tonics. Those choosing this tour will want to make sure to bring appropriate footwear for an outside farm visit.


After the tours, we’ll enjoy dinner on our own at your choice of Ellicotville Eateries and then head back to the hospitality suite before retiring to our rooms to enjoy one more exciting day of conference.


I can’t believe the conference is less than 3 weeks away (Where has the time gone this fall?), so make sure to book YOUR spot ASAP! Hotel registrations are due by November 1st to get the conference discount, which is only one week away. Reserve your space today at:

Conference Registration

Conference Session Spotlight – Tuesday

We’ve talked a lot in the past couple of weeks about some of the intangible benefits of conference – getting away for a while, getting to network with a community of your peers, the food, the tours, oh and did we mention the FOOD? But now as the conference date approaches, I’m sure you want to hear more about the meat of it all – the sessions – and the value you will gain from those.

Fair enough.

Let’s use this latest update to give you a run-down of some of the important topics that will be covered on the first day of conference – Tuesday, November 15th.

Welcome & 1st Morning Session

For those of you who didn’t arrive the night of the 14th to settle into the hotel and attend the preconference reception from 4:00 to 6:00 pm (with Hors D’Oeuvres and a cash bar!), this will be our chance to welcome you to the conference with a joint introduction by our board president. After the introduction and welcome, we will dive right into the first session presented by Kim Lamendola of Southern Tier West Regional Planning and Development. Kim will be speaking on Sharing the Community Benefits of Farmers Markets and her session will be just the thing to help you learn the language of government officials so you can spread the word about the benefits your market offers the surrounding community, build relationships and begin to leverage those relationships into support for your market.

Coffee Break & 2nd Morning Session

After the first session, we will take a brief coffee break from 10:30 to 11:00 so you can begin to do some networking, make new friends, and say hello to old ones before shifting into our second a.m. session where you will have the choice between one of two topics below. You can choose the topic that is most relevant to your market or which you most need to learn, but don’t worry – the presentation and materials from the other session will all be available on the USB Drive we’ll give you as you enter, so you can choose to review either topic at your leisure.

  • Topic 1 – Market Manager Compensation, A Panel Discussion, presented by a panel of market managers from around the state, this presentation will review various methods used to compensate farmers market managers. Each speaker will discuss the pros and cons of each method, allowing you to choose the most effective method of manager compensation for your unique market.
  • Topic 2 – Succession Planning for Farmers Market Manager Compensation, presented by Diane Eggert, will help you ensure the stability of your market over the long-term, even through a turnover of your markets most important position – the market manager. You’ll learn how to prepare for the loss of your manager, and how to make a smooth transition to a new one.


It was many a child’s favorite “subject” in school and we certainly won’t skip it! At noon, we’ll be breaking for an hour to enjoy a catered meal featuring local foods of the Southern Tier West Region, (and more opportunities to chat and network too!).

After Lunch Tour

To get the blood pumping again, we’ll be headed out on our first of three daily tours after our repast. Tours are always fun and we really get to know each other, and the surrounding area’s agriculture scene as well. On Tuesday, we’ll be touring the Eden Valley Co-op/WNY Food Hub to see just how their operations run. The Co-op is a 10-member vegetable farm and one of the region’s largest entities distributing local produce. In 2004, they were selected to house and operate the larger WNY Food Hub and now use their existing marketing channels to help smaller produce farmers enter the wholesale market.

Afternoon Session

When we return from the tours at 4:00 PM we will have one more learning opportunity. Patricia Burgio, Director of Communications of the Lancaster School District will teach us all about Working with the Media. Do you know how to talk with a reporter? What to say? What not to say? What is the right body language? This session will help you speak with the media, give a positive image of you and your market and come out with stronger support for your market. After, we’ll break into small groups to practice!

Annual Banquet

After another break to allow everyone time to visit their rooms and get freshened up, Tuesday night at 6:00 PM we will be hosting the Annual Market Manager’s Banquet. If you have already bought your tickets for conference but did not purchase banquet tickets, make sure to return to the payment page and purchase banquet tickets – you do not want to miss this! Again, we will enjoy a local foods dinner with featured speaker Tom Rivers, author of “Farm Hands: Hard Work and Hard Lessons from Western New York Fields.”

After the banquet, join us in the hospitality suite for more drinks and snacks before we retire to our rooms for some rest in preparation for another 2 exciting days of conference. This is only day one!


If you haven’t yet registered, we still have some spaces available. Reserve yours now at:

Conference Registration

Don’t Miss These Upcoming Deadlines!

There’s a chill in the air and we’re switching over from air-conditioning to heat and from pansies to mums. You know what that means! November is fast approaching. We were surprised when we asked at the end of last year’s conference whether you preferred February or November and so many of you chose November. But then again, there are several advantages: markets have just closed for the season so excitement is high to begin planning for next year, plus we’ll be a lot more likely to avoid snow and freezing temperatures! We’ve had quite a lot of signups so far, but if you’re one of the procrastinators, here are the upcoming deadlines to make sure you don’t miss out:

Conference Registration – submit ASAP, no refunds after November 4th when the numbers for meals will be finalized.

Conference Rate for Hotel Rooms – Can only be honored until November 1st so please book before then. Since this is a resort, the discounted rate is a lot less than their normal pricing, so don’t miss out by forgetting to book your room in2016-10-11-11_33_09-start time!

To remind you of what you’ll be getting, here’s a photo of one of the upstairs sessions at last year’s conference:



Time after time we hear that one of the best benefits of conference is getting to see everyone and network with managers of all different kinds of markets from around the state!

Another “fan favorite” at the conference every year is the tours. This year’s tours sound particularly fun, with farms, a food hub, and a local brew pub on the schedule, including The Eden Valley Co-op/WNY Food Hub, Ellicottville Brewing Company, Blue Hill Farm, White Cow Dairy, and Canticle Farms. Each location was chosen to showcase the Southern Tier West agriculture and food landscape and the tours will give market managers a guided look into farm production and marketing. At Blue Hill Farm and White Cow Dairy, we will even get to sample several of the small-batch, handmade products such as custards, yogurts, and tonics, syrups, tinctures, and bitters made with the farmstead’s milk!

So what are you waiting for?

Register at:

Don’t Just Take Our Word For It…

Listen to the past attendees!

If you really want to know the benefits of attending a FMFNY Conference, just take a look at what others are saying. Sure, you can get some info from the agenda and from our info on the website about what conference is all about.

But to get the true story, listen to some of the responses below and check out what people are saying about the conference while they’re on social media!

Here’s what Ryan Miller, Director of the ThINCuabtor in Ithaca had to say:




People also really seem to have fun on the tours. Here’s the market manager of the Peekskill NY Farmers Market enjoying a visit with the animals during one of the tours of SUNY Cobleskill’s state of the art ag facilities. People also loved seeing the fish hatchery there! This year’s tours should be equally interesting with options to visit the Eden Valley Co-op and WNY Food Hub, Ellicotville Brewing Company, Blue Hill Farm & White Cow Dairy and Canticle Farm. The stories behind these businesses and why they do what they do are really interesting and can be read in the agenda.




We also surveyed last year’s conference guests as we do every year (we are constantly striving to make our programming more useful and more relevant to you!) and here’s what they had to say:

When asked how likely they were to go home and implement policies, procedures and/or programs based on what they learned at conference, 95% said they were very likely to! This means that you will get great practical, actionable advice and not just a bunch of theories and fluff.




We also got some great responses when people were asked what you liked most about the conference. Here’s what you wrote in.

These managers enjoyed the camaraderie and the classes:

“I really like being surrounded by market folk and getting to hear everyone’s stories and experiences. I thoroughly enjoyed the classes, especially the fact that they were almost all given by NYS market managers.”

“The SUNY Cobleskill setting, food, interaction with other farmers market managers, and both the conference topics-tours and pace of programming were are excellent.”

“Hearing that other managers are confronted with the same issues and their experiences in handling them really got me thinking. Those learning experiences are leading to new ways of handling issues in my market that I couldn’t have come up with on my own.”

“The wide variety of topics touching on the job of managing a farmers’ market really opened my eyes. I was pleased to find that I was already using some of techniques talked about at the conference, but equally interested to learn about so many more possibilities.”

This manager enjoyed the local and practical stance:

“Local perspective. Real managers speaking of real issues not bureaucrats talking about useless policy initiatives.”

This manager enjoyed how the information was presented:

“All of the info was extremely helpful! Having the Flash drive with everything on it, is just amazing and a great resource. Every conference should do that! I loved it and I know it took a lot of work and planning!”

This manager seemed to enjoy everything about the conference:

“Great mix of dynamic presenters with experience and a passion for their subject, delivering useful and timely information with additional resources cited. The food was excellent, and the added tours were interesting.”

And, more simply put:

“Hearing about all the great markets across the state and the unique programs they run.”

So there you have it! Don’t take it from us that you should attend conference. Take the words of your fellow market managers to heart. These are the benefits they experienced at conferences past and our upcoming conference offers no shortage of these same opportunities. We’ve had an unusual number of early sign-ups this year, but there are still plenty of spaces remaining! Don’t miss out – claim your space by registering today:

Register for Conference

Only 5 Days Left…

To Apply for A Conference Scholarship


This year is the first year we’ve offered the chance to get a scholarship to support your attendance at conference.

The board wanted to use some of the funds from membership dues to help those markets who might not normally be able to attend conference. It’s our way of giving back some of the support you’ve given us! The idea is to encourage smaller markets, new markets, those with volunteer managers, and others who have not been to one of our conferences before (so they don’t know all of the benefits!) to attend.

We’ve received some great applications but we still have room for more!

So if you’ve wanted to attend our conference in the past but haven’t been able to for one reason or another, now’s your chance. Please don’t miss the deadline of September 26th at 5:00 PM as no applications will be accepted after that time.

Download the Scholarship Application now.


Here are some Frequently Asked Questions about the Scholarship Program:


The scholarship covers your conference fee (conference sessions and tours) and lunches.


You will still need to cover your own hotel fees and dinners on your own for the duration of the conference. But we have a great discount group rate so hotel rooms at Holiday Valley Resort are only $100 per night, single or double occupancy.


No. We want you to get the full benefit of the conference along with the tours and the networking, so the scholarship covers the entire 3 days of conference sessions.

So if you’ve been meaning to fill out the scholarship application but haven’t gotten around to it: this is your last reminder. The deadline is approaching quickly.

10 Reasons Not to Miss Conference!

number-437928_1920We tend to do a number of posts reminding people to register for conference because the half-life of a post on social media is incredibly fast these days – and with the busy nature of this time of year, market managers can often see a post and then forget to take action. But don’t relegate this to the back of your to-do list for too long! There are so many important benefits that attending a FMFNY conference can bring. Here are a few of the many reasons to attend:

1. For the interaction. The conference is your opportunity to interact with other market managers from around the state. These opportunities don’t come up very often! This is perhaps the most important benefit of attending conference because we all have different ideas. There could be something you’re struggling with but another manager has a perfect solution for (or vice-versa). You might even network with other managers in your area and create a joint program or service to add value to your market(s).

2. The information learned at the sessions is invaluable. We will be learning from experts on topics such as: Market Manager Compensation, Succession Planning, Managing Vendor Diversity, Food Preparation at Markets, SNAP Best Practices and more. There might be a critical component to managing a market that you aren’t aware of or programs that your market could benefit from that you aren’t familiar with. Attending the workshops and sessions is a wonderful way to be exposed to the most critical topics and concepts relevant to farmers markets in New York State. We have been running these conferences for over 10 years so we know what works and what doesn’t!

3. The chance to get away! This year’s location at the Holiday Valley Resort is breathtaking. Check out their Photo Gallery. Amenities include free wi-fi, complimentary breakfast, a heated pool, and fitness center, and an on-site restaurant and bar. Who doesn’t need a few days away from home and a change of scenery every once in a while? You’ll come back refreshed, energized and ready to take on the challenges of running next year’s market with full steam ahead.

4. The food. You may not be aware of this, but we generally source the food for the included meals locally and make a point to support the local farms in the area. For those dinners on your own (or with new friends and colleagues) there are a bunch of good restaurant options in the area too.

5. The fellowship. What goes better with great food than great company? Come alone and make a new friend or two. Stay in touch and follow each other’s progress and you build your markets and grow as professional market managers too.

6. The tours. Tours are always a popular part of our conferences and we’ve got lots of them this year – farms, a food hub, and a local brew pub! Tour locations include The Eden Valley Co-op/WNY Food Hub, Ellicottville Brewing Company, Blue Hill Farm, White Cow Dairy, and Canticle Farms. Each location was chosen to showcase the Southern Tier West agriculture and food landscape and the tours will give market managers a guided look into farm production and marketing. At Blue Hill Farm and White Cow Dairy, we will even get to sample several of the small-batch, handmade products such as custards, yogurts, and tonics, syrups, tinctures, and bitters made with the farmstead’s milk!

7. It could be free. This year for the first time we have a scholarship option. Please apply if you are a new market manager, someone who has not been to a FMFNY conference in the past, or if you could not otherwise afford to go without the help of the scholarship. Scholarships are taken from membership dues and will cover your conference fee and lunches if your application is approved (but you will still be responsible for your own hotel room). Click here to download the application and instructions.

8. To support FMFNY. Our membership numbers and attendance at conference give us proof when it comes time to write grant applications of the number of markets we represent. Your membership and participation is appreciated because it allows us to keep doing the work that we do in serving markets, farmers and consumers throughout the state.

9. To see our smiling faces. You may speak with us over the phone at the Federation office throughout the year as we offer you programs and services to help you meet your market goals. For most of you, the annual conference is the one chance you have each year to interact with us face-to-face. We’d love to see you there!

10. Lastly, If you don’t go, you won’t know what you’re missing!


Register today at:

Scholarship Application Period Now Open!

shield-229112_1280Registrations for the 2016 Farmers Market Managers Conference in Ellicottville opened last week for anyone who missed it. The registration link is: and you can find out about all the amazing things we have planned and view the agenda and hotel information by looking at the Conference Overview page.

The Holiday Valley Resort is a ski destination in winter but the grounds are absolutely beautiful in the off season too. We’ve got a lot of fun things planned including tours and samplings and networking opportunities with other managers in-between the educational sessions geared towards helping you improve your market. Our theme this year is “Building Capacity of Farmers Markets” and given that theme, one really exciting feature we have added to this year’s conference for the first time is a scholarship option. We are really excited about this because it has been requested/suggested in the past, but 2016 is the first year we were able to make it happen!

This year we have budgeted for some of your membership dues to help managers attend our annual conference. This provides a wonderful opportunity for smaller markets with lower budgets, those who may not have attended a conference in the past, and people from further away who may have to spend money to travel to the conference to be able to attend. To take advantage of this opportunity, simply click on the Scholarship Application to download and print the file and fill it out. Email it back to us at [email protected] no later than September 26th to be considered.

If awarded a scholarship, your registration fee for all three days of the event will be covered, including lunches and tours. If you need to stay overnight you will still be responsible for your own hotel accommodations. If we receive more applications than we can fund, they will be reviewed based on the following criteria:

  1. The proposed plan for implementing the lessons learned at the conference.
  2. Need – i.e. making sure there is conference representation from the full diversity of markets around the state.

Since our goal is to encourage new attendees to the conference, preference will be given to less experienced managers, those representing small and/or emerging market, and applicants who have not previously attended a conference. The decision will be at the discretion of the conference scholarship committee, and all awardees will be notified by October 14th and then must accept by October 19th. There will be no scholarships for single day/partial attendance so please make sure you’ll be able to stay for the entire conference if selected.

Please help us spread the word – Send this link to anyone you know who might benefit from attending our conference for the first time. Those of you who have attended the conference in the past understand the value that you get not only from the sessions, but also from the fellowship of being surrounded and supported by all the market managers from around the state who each have different experiences and lessons to share.

We hope to see you all this November 15th to 17th in Ellicotville!

Farmers Market Manager Training Conference

Farmers Market Manager Training Conference – “Building Capacity of Markets” – is this November 15th to 17th

The Farmers Market Federation of New York announces…

… its annual Farmers Market Managers Training Conference, “Building Capacity of Markets.” The conference will be co-hosted by the Farmers Market Federation, The Southern Tier West Regional Planning and Development and the Southern Tier West Farmers Market Network and will be held at the Holiday Valley Resort in Ellicottville, NY, November 15 – 17th.

holiday valley resort

The conference will focus on helping farmers markets build their capacity to grow and succeed for the benefit of their farmers, consumers, and host community. Our keynote speaker, Kim LaMendola, Southern Tier West Regional Planning and Development, will discuss the benefits that farmers markets bring to a community and help market managers understand the language needed to convey this critical message to government leaders. An evening banquet features Tom Rivers, author of Farm Hands: Hard work and hard lessons from the Western New York Fields. Tom’s talk is sure to enlighten and entertain.

Each session of the conference builds on the overall theme of building the capacity of farmers markets to grow and succeed,  improve attendees ability to manage their market, advance their market’s potential for long-term sustainability, and promote a marketplace that achieves a mission of supporting local farmers. Participating market managers are also taught the importance of providing a venue for consumers to purchase locally grown nutritious foods, and serving as responsible community partners.

The conference will feature a series of break-out sessions for emerging markets, focusing on helping them to bring their markets up to the next level of success. Other breakouts will focus on experienced managers, talking about more advanced concepts such as best practices in SNAP programs at farmers markets.

The 2016 Conference will feature daily tours to farms, a food hub, and a local brew pub: The Eden Valley Co-op/WNY Food Hub, Ellicottville Brewing Company, Blue Hill Farm and White Cow Dairy, and Canticle Farms. Each location was chosen to showcase the Southern Tier West agriculture and food landscape and to give market managers a guided look into farm production and marketing. At Blue Hill Farm and White Cow Dairy, we will sample several of the small-batch, handmade products such as custards, yogurts, and tonics made with the farmstead’s milk and other ingredients such as handmade tonics, syrups, tinctures, and bitters.

Another new feature of the 2016 Farmers Market Managers Conference is a scholarship program to encourage market managers across New York State to take advantage of the lessons and networking that happens at the conference. To access the conference scholarship application, go to  But hurry, deadline for scholarship applications is September 26.

The Farmers Market Managers Training Conference is your opportunity to boost your skills as a market manager; network with others across the state and beyond; share ideas, suggestions and questions; and even make new friendships. Register now for the 2016 Farmers Market Managers Conference: “Building Capacity of Markets.”

Special thanks to this year’s conference sponsors: Premier Marketing, ManageMyMarket, Karen Karp and Partners and LeadNY.

The full conference program, agenda and hotel information can be found at  For more information, contact the Farmers Market Federation of NY at[email protected] or call 315-400-1447.

Farmers Market Events: Music at the Market


Does your market hold market events to draw additional customers to the market and keep your existing customers entertained and coming back for more?

It’s that time of year where the weather is beautiful and produce is bountiful so take advantage and schedule some fun events at your market! Here is a great example of a market event to be held at the West Bloomfield Farmers Market. From their newsletter:

“The next two Fridays in August (8/19 & 8/26) WEBERMUSIC will be bringing their shakers and claves, tambourines & bells, and all sorts of other hand percussion instruments for budding young (and old!) percussionists to play along with us as we sing and play for a few hours.

We have plenty of parking, lots of shade and there is always a breeze so bring your friends & family, lawn chairs, and some eco-friendly bags if ya got ’em to take all your fresh fruits & veggies home, and come see what all the buzz is about.” They’ve also included a link to the event on Facebook where they’ve invited everyone so folks can RSVP and share the event with their friends:

Including the photo of the musicians really helps bring the event to life and helps customers picture themselves there, having fun listening to the music. The musicians are even bringing extra instruments so people can get really involved and play along. New customers will remember how much fun they had and return to the market even on days where there are no events, to buy more of the fresh, local produce.

So if you’re in that neck of the woods, head on down to this Friday and next Friday to join in on the fun. If you’re not local to West Bloomfield, use this event as an example for your market. Maybe your calendar of events is looking pretty sparse this year – time to spruce it up! Maybe you’ve scheduled lots of events but you’re forgetting to spread the word through newsletters, Facebook events, social media posts, and flyers posted at other local venues. Many of these promotion methods are cheap or free and events do not need to eat up a huge chunk of your budget so get creative with your market events.

Other options besides music can include children’s activities and crafts, festivals and art shows, cooking demonstrations and prepared foods sales, wine/beer/cheese/veggie/fruit tastings and samplings, baking/cooking competitions, fundraisers for a local charity, book signings, ethnic dancers or other performing artists, pet events etc.

Here’s are some additional resources to give you more ideas:

You are only limited by your imagination! And remember, just because you’re not having a special event that week doesn’t mean you can’t make the market into an event and publicize it through your newsletter and social media channels as well. A regular market is an event in its own right! Just list what some of the vendors will be selling and any special information relevant to that week’s market.

Thanks to the West Bloomfield Market and WEBERMUSIC for allowing us to share their event and photo. If your market is having a special event that you think would be a great example, please send a photo and description to [email protected] and your event might be featured on our blog as well! Happy planning!! 🙂


Save the Date for Conference!

holiday valley resort

The 2016 NYS Farmers Market Managers Conference, “Building Capacity of Farmers Market” will be held November 15 – 17 at the Holiday Valley Resort in Ellicottville, NY. The conference is sponsored by the Southern Tier West Regional Planning and Development Agency and the Southern Tier West Farmers Market Network.

This year’s conference is designed to reach smaller markets and inexperienced market managers to help build their management skills and raise the level of success for small markets. Other sessions will focus on the issues facing larger, more experienced markets and managers. The 2016 conference is for everyone!

Of the many issues we will be looking at, managing the vendor diversity in markets is a key discussion happening across the state and being covered at the conference. Another session will focus on best practices for building a successful SNAP program at farmers markets. A panel of speakers will share their experiences and success stories.

Along with 3 days of workshops, the conference will feature an industry tour each day of the conference. Come along to visit the WNY Food Hub and learn the role that food hubs play in a local food economy. Enjoy a tour of Ellicottville Brewing Company and sample their local beers. Our final tour will be Canticle Farm. This is a teaching farm, helping to build the next generation of farmers. Along with teaching production skills, the farm also sponsors a farm stand, CSA and farmers market, providing marketing education as well.

Another feature of the 2016 Annual Farmers Market Managers Conference is a new scholarship program. If you need financial assistance to attend the conference, complete the Scholarship Application and submit to the Federation office no later than September 26, 2016.

Mark your calendars for November 15 – 17, 2016 and join us as we convene in Ellicottville, NY for the 2016 NYS Farmers Market Managers Conference. All information about the conference can be found here: or take a peek at the Conference Agenda, Conference Registration, or Hotel Information.

New EBT Cards Rolling Out Starting 8/1


You’ll soon start to see a new look to the SNAP EBT cards in New York State. Beginning in August, new and replacement cards will feature an updated design as shown on the left, but the new cards will continue to work exactly the same as before. Retailers and farmers markets will continue to accept old and new SNAP cards simultaneously until all of the old cards are eventually replaced with new ones. This transition will happen over a period of time as some people will continue using the old cards until they need replacing at which point they will be issued a new card with the new design. Be on the lookout for these new EBT cards at your market and spread the word to your farmers and other nearby market managers about the new card design. You may also need to change your signage when you order new signage if you used any images of EBT cards on your signs.  See this flyer from USDA for more info.

Are You the One? Looking for Speakers!

man-1020389_1920Our Annual Conference will be in November this year and we already have a great lineup of sessions and speakers planned! We are still looking for a speaker or a panel of speakers for the following topic so we’re reaching out to you for help. Do you know someone who is knowledgeable on the following topic? Or maybe you’d like to nominate yourself? The session will be on Managing Producer Diversity – i.e. insuring you have the right product mix in your market. Here’s the full session description:

Managing Vendor Diversity

Managers plan their market’s vendor mix to ensure each vendor can earn enough to sustain their business, while still providing enough choices for consumers. How many produce vendors can your market support? How many meat vendors? What is there enough of at your market and what is missing that might be needed? Many new managers ask themselves: “How does a manager maintain the right balance?” Learn tried and true techniques on managing vendor mix from these successful farmers market managers.

If you feel that you could add your expertise to the panel or you know of someone who would be a great fit, please reply to this email and let us know. There are some perks to being a speaker too. Conference speakers receive free admission to the conference for the day they speak as well as the chance to help other managers around NY state.


Last Chance!

We are now in the final 6 months of our Cultivating Success: Farm and Market Websites Project funded through USDA’s Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) grants. We’ve successfully created a lot of new websites for markets and farms but we need your help to complete the project!

We are still accepting submissions from people who would like a website created for their farm or farmers market – but only until August 15th!

This is an amazing opportunity as participants will have their websites created for them for free and also have their first year’s hosting and domain fees paid for by the Federation. In order to participate, you will need to gather all the information needed to create your website together and submit a Farm Website Design Request or Market Website Design Request depending on whether you are a farm or farmers market.

Please do not submit incomplete forms as this can delay the process. Spaces are limited and the sites will be created on a first come first served basis so please complete the form as soon as possible. Please also forward this email on to anyone who you think might be interested in this program so we make sure to meet our goal to create 100 sites. Remember, the websites come with training videos and a guidebook on how to maintain and update your site so ANYONE can participate in this program, even if you have limited tech skills or previously thought it would be too hard to understand WordPress.

Contact [email protected] with any questions about submitting the form or enrolling in the program.


“Thank you so much!  NEVER thought I would say I am actually having fun doing this – working with websites has always been such a struggle before.”~ Market Website Participant
“Loving the website your group designed. Wow! Slick, professional.”~ Farm Website Participant
“I want you to know I really feel like I have the tools to make this website work and update it on a regular basis.  I am going to start small and work on it and may send you e-mails from time to time but this has been a FABULOUS project.  Thank you again.”     ~ Farm Website Participant



Updated Vendor Permit Requirements

rules-1339917_1280Do you have a vendor selling bedding plants at your market? Did you know that they are required to have a Nursery Growers License from the NYS Department of Agriculture & Markets? Making sure your vendors have all required permits is an important part of market management: That’s why we’ve put together a checklist for market managers.

We’ve recently updated our Market Mangers’ Checklist for Permits required for Farmers Market Sellers. This list is an excellent resource that will help you understand the various permits, licenses, and certificates that are required for sellers of commonly found products at your markets. While this checklist isn’t exhaustive, it serves as a general guideline to point you in the right direction. You’ll find a list of inspection agencies and contact information at the end of the checklist if you need more information or guidance. We hope this list will make it easier for you to keep up-to-date at your market. Please share this list with your vendors and staff as needed. We hope you’ll find this tool useful for your markets!

It’s that time of year again!

1-16-14 (8)We are working on updating market information for the season. On our website, we’ve compiled a database of market profiles for consumers. This online profile is a great way to get more exposure for your market, as it allows customers to look up market times, locations, and what your market has to offer. Updating your profile ensures that customers have the most current information for your market. It also allows each farmers market to take advantage of our Online Farmers Market Decision Tool.

Online Farmers Market Decision Tool

Last year, The Farmers Market Federation of NY (in partnership with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Broome County, through funding from the NY Farm Viability Institute) prepared an Online Farmers Market Decision Tool to help farmers find the most appropriate farmers markets. This Decision Tool is currently available on the Federation’s website, .

This tool is an excellent way for New York’s farmers markets to recruit farmers who will find fulfillment in their markets. However, we need your help to maintain this searchable database. When you go to update your market profile for the season, you’ll notice a series of Market Characteristics questions. Once this more detailed questionnaire is complete, the Online Farmers Market Decision Tool will be fully updated and you will be able to connect your market with farmers who match your needs and interests.

Please help us maintain this Online Decision Tool by entering your market information on the online market form today. If you host more than one market, you will need to enter each market individually.

Find the form at update an already existing profile, click on “Forgot your private link? Click here to have it emailed to you.” You’ll receive an email with a link to update your profile.

If you have questions or need assistance in completing this form, or accessing your private link, please contact the Federation office at 315-400-1447 or contact our new office manager Maggie at [email protected]



We’re Starting a Blog!

     blog post header

to-do-list-749304_1280Our website has been an incredible resource for NYS markets and farmers for a number of years, but up until now we’ve always done our newsletter in a paper format.  Diane even remembers the days when (back before everyone had email), she had to print and fold the newsletter in paper format and send copies to everyone in the mail.

But times are changing and so are we!  We are excited to announce that for the 2016 membership year, the Federation is replacing the old quarterly paper/pdf format of our newsletter with our new blog and we’ll now be keeping you up-to-date on all things Federation and farmers markets right here on the website.

What this means for you:

You’ll now have a handy place to come to and see what the latest is, both here in the Federation office and around the state.  Just bookmark this link and check it often or if you prefer, subscribe to our email list if you haven’t already and you can read the latest there.  You might even get the opportunity to shine the spotlight on your market or farm or something interesting happening in your corner of NYS.

What this means for us:

We’ll be able to keep you updated more frequently by adding each article or bit of news as soon as it is relevant and keep the information timely. No more folding paper newsletters or formatting PDFs!

We’re also putting out a Call to Action for Market Managers and other agricultural stakeholders around the state.  We’d like to invite you to participate and make use of this space and take advantage of the great traffic we get on our site:

Got an idea for an article?  Shoot it our way. Or perhaps you already have some existing content you think we could repurpose or share.  Maybe you know about something our readers would be interested in finding out about.

Got photos of your market or farm you’d like featured on our site?  Great – we may be able to use them in an upcoming article.

Please don’t forget to add this to your “to-do” list.  Send all submissions to [email protected].  We will feature as many as we can in an upcoming blog article and/or email blast.  We look forward to seeing YOU featured and to continuing to provide you with the most relevant up-to-date information on New York State’s amazing farmers markets.

Welcome to the Farmers Market Federation of NY

Welcome to the Farmers Market Federation of NY



The Farmers Market Federation of New York is a grassroots, membership organization of farmers’ market managers, market sponsors, farmers and market supporters. Together, we have developed a spectrum of services to increase the number and capacity of farmers’ markets in the state, develop the scope of professionalism in farmers’ market management and improve the ability of markets to serve their farmers, their consumers and their host communities. On our site we have resources for market managers, resources for market farmers/vendors, and resources for farmers market customers as well.  Take a look

Resources for Market Managers:

On this site you’ll find support materials that will guide you to the successful development, implementation and operation of farmers’ markets. Everything from publications and guides to research to reporting tools are available to assist you in market development and management.

If you’re just getting started, you’ll want to check out our 63 page Guide to Developing a Community Farmers Market along with the other resources and publications on our Market Management & Operations page.  You’ll find the networking opportunities through the Federation’s list serv, sponsored by Cornell University’s Community, Food and Agriculture Program, will keep you plugged in to market managers across the state for instant feedback to your questions and concerns. We also have a secret Facebook group to allow market managers and others involved in the field of farmers markets to connect, discuss, and resolve issues within a group of peers. Email [email protected] with the email associated with your Facebook account if you want to be added to the group. In addition, you can connect with other managers in person at our annual conference which is generally held in winter in various communities around the state. We’ve recorded all the sessions from last year’s conference held at SUNY Cobleskill, and turned them into New York State’s first Farmers Market Manager’s Certification Program: FMM Pro in partnership with SUNY and Cornell Cooperative Extension Broome County. Market managers, prospective managers, and those involved in the field of agriculture or ag education have one year from the date they first sign in to complete the course which consists of over 20 hours of videos, handouts, homework assignments and quizzes. Upon completion, the participants will be armed with all the knowledge needed to run a successful market, along with a certificate signed by the Federation, CCE, and the SUNY system showing they are now a certified manager, allowing them to leverage additional funding and support for their markets. The Federation also helps markets get into the EBT program so their farmers can accept SNAP benefits through a central terminal system. We offer discounted Farmers Market Insurance to our market members. You can check out our Membership Benefits and other Resources for Market Managers as well. You can also list your market on our website! Go to to add a new market or to update your existing listing(s) today. Keeping your listings accurate helps us to serve you better and helps customer and farmers find you more easily.  Feel free to reach out to us at (315) 400 – 1447 or email [email protected] with any questions. 

Resources for Market Farmers/Vendors:

Support programs that directly benefit the farmers participating in New York’s farmers markets are a big part of the Farmers’ Market Federation of NY’s mission as well. We offer a Farmers Market Decision Tool where farmers and other market vendors can input information about your products, production methods, and location and be given a list of new potential markets who are looking for vendors like you! The farmers market Vendor Insurance Program is instrumental in keeping markets and farmers profitable and safe. We also offer SNAP program assistance for farmers looking to accept SNAP/EBT at their Farmstand, PYO operation or farmers markets they may attend that don’t use a central SNAP terminal. In addition, we offer several free guides on Farm Business & Marketing as well as Food Safety Topics for Farmers.

Resources for Market Consumers:

Finally, we encourage consumers across the state to visit their local farmers’ market. Experience the colorful abundance of nutritious, high quality New York state foods, the aroma of fresh produce and the friendly banter of farmers and customers, neighbors and families. A visit to a farmers’ market is an adventure, one that can be experienced every week in your own community. We now have a dedicated website for farmers market consumers – please visit for tips on shopping at your local farmers market, helpful fillable shopping lists and things to consider when choosing what to buy at the market. You can also use our market locator here: to find a summer market near you, or check our winter market listing here: You can also check the Department of Agriculture’s Map of Markets as well.  If you use SNAP benefits, you can now shop at many NYS markets using your EBT card. You can visit, our website geared towards SNAP consumers, to find a market that accepts your benefits and search for recipes using healthy local fruits and veggies or find out what’s in season this month as well.




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Mission Statement

Our mission is to support and promote the viability of farmers’ markets through innovative services, programs and partnerships that maximize the benefits of markets to sellers, buyers and communities.