Many of the following rules and regulations have been borrowed from successful neighboring markets. At first glance they may seem intimidating and burdensome, yet the goal of this document is to provide a fair and equitable framework and marketplace within which vendors may prosper. While all potential problems cannot be anticipated, the input received from experienced market managers and included below should help to limit the conflicts that can so easily disrupt a farmers’ market. It is the hope of the Walloomsac Farmers’ Market that these rules and regulations, once read and understood by each member, will be an invisible foundation upon which a vibrant, successful farmers’ market grows.
A. Criteria for Vendors
- Participation in the market is restricted to members of the Bennington Farmers’ Market, or those groups/individuals approved by the Board of Directors.
- We are a “producer-only” market. Vendors may not purchase items and resell them at the market. Exceptions for products no vendor currently sells will be at the sole discretion of the Board of Directors.
- Goods and products offered for sale are expected to be of the highest quality. If, in the opinion of the Market Manager, a vendor offers inferior quality products, the vendor may be asked to withdraw the item(s) or to label and price them accordingly.
- Vendors are expected to follow the highest business and ethical standards at market—fraudulent or dishonest practices are prohibited.
- Free samples may be offered to customers provided this is done in a sanitary manner and is in accordance with Department of Health requirements.
- Products approved for sale at the market:
- Vegetables—grown by the vendor
- Fruits—grown by the vendor
- Dried fruits/vegetables—product grown and dried by the vendor
- Milk, cheese and other dairy products—preference is given to vendors using milk from their own herd
- Eggs—from vendor’s own fowl
- Drinks—See letter o.
- Honey and bee products—produced and bottled/packaged by the vendor
- Maple syrup—processed by the vendor from the vendor’s own or rented sugarbush
- Field grown plant and flowers/cut flowers—grown by the vendor from seeds, plugs, dormant roots or bulbs, or cuttings
- Jams and preserves—prepared by the vendor. Preference is given to vendors processing their own fruit
- Meat products—100% from animals raised from weaning by the vendor
- Poultry—100% from birds raised by the vendor from chicks
- Baked goods—fresh baked and prepared from scratch by the vendor—no commercially prepared dough mixes, crusts, shells, fillings, or contents—vendors using local ingredients purchased directly from the farmer/producer will be given preference
- Animal products—wool, fleece, yarn, feathers, down, and untooled leather produced—vendors who process their own product will be given preference
- Ready to eat prepared foods—high quality food items prepared by the vendor. Vendors who use locally grown farm-direct products will be given preference.
- Artwork and Crafts—high quality artwork and craft items designed and executed by the vendor and chosen by the Board through a jury process. Commercial duplication printing and/or items assembled from kits may not be sold. All potential art and craft vendors must present samples of their work for review by the Board. Artists and craft vendors together may not exceed 20% of total vendors at the market.
- Products once approved by the board, will generally be re-approved for the following season provided it is marked properly on the vendor’s application. However, the Board reserves the right to deny an item or product at their discretion. If a vendor would like to sell products significantly different from their previously approved category, the new products must be approved by the Board.
- It is expected that all vendors will be truthful in responses to consumer inquiries regarding pesticide and herbicide use and other farm practices.
- Preference in vendor selection will be given to vendors who do not use GMO materials or ingredients.
B. Market Operations
- The market operates during the dates and times specified in the application packet for each year’s market. Vendors may set up at their sites up to two hours before the market opens. Set up of vehicles and stands must be complete before the market opens. Vendors shall not begin to transact business until the designated market opening time. Vendors are expected to remain at the Market for the entire market day until the official closing time. Extenuating circumstances will be considered by the Market Manager. Vendors must have their market sites dismantled, packed up and cleaned within one hour of the market closure.
- Cancellation of the Market or early closure due to dangerous or severe weather conditions shall be at the sole discretion of the Market.
- Vendors are assigned a location at the Market by the Market Manager according to availability of spaces, seniority, previous market attendance, type of product, date of membership payment/renewal, and length of their market season.
- Vendors attending the Market on a daily-fee basis must notify the Market Manager of their intent to attend the Market no later than the Wednesday preceding that Saturday’s market.
- Vendors are required to notify the Market Manager no later than 8:00 AM on market day of their intended absence at the Market.
- Vendors should occupy their spaces no later than 30 minutes before the Market opens. Repeated lateness or absence may result in the loss of assigned location and/or member privileges.
- Individuals working in the place of vendor owner/principals must be informed of all the market rules and regulations and the vendor is responsible for resolving any problems that may occur in their absence. These individuals must demonstrate thorough knowledge of the products they are selling.
- The standard vendor frontage at the market is 12 feet. Expanded spaces are available with assignments made at the discretion of the Market Manager.
- Each vendor will be responsible for all equipment and supplies for the setup of a booth, table, scales, bags, signs, etc. and must operate his/her market space in a safe and sanitary manner. Display facilities must be constructed in such a way as to pose no hazards to customers and allow easy access to the goods on display. Produce should not be placed directly on the ground. Vendors who provide samples and/or products which result in waste materials, such as corn cobs, rinds and cups must provide containers for such waste disposal. At the end of the sale day, the vendor’s area must be clean and any refuse taken home by the vendor or disposed of as directed by the Market Manager. Public trash barrels are for customer use only.
- Each vendor shall remain on his/her own market space when selling products. Sales should be conducted in an orderly business manner. No shouting, hawking or other objectionable means of soliciting shall be tolerated. Vendors shall exhibit courtesy and cooperation to customers and to other vendors selling at the market.
- Farms practicing Community Supported Agriculture may distribute weekly “boxes” at the Market upon notification of the board of directors.
- Illegal discrimination is not permitted at the market. Vendors are expected to be courteous and honest at all times. Disagreements with customers, fellow vendors and the Market Manager must be handled in a respectful manner so as not to disrupt the Market.
- Drinking of alcoholic beverages and/or smoking by vendors at the market is prohibited.
- Amplified music is not permitted at the Market unless it is part of entertainment sponsored by the Market.
- Each vendor must identify themselves or their business by use of an attractively lettered sign stating their name and location.
- Participation by local civic groups or non-profit organizations at the Market is at the discretion of the Board and the Market Manager.
- It is the responsibility of each vendor to comply fully with all appropriate state and local regulations. Examples of such regulations include, but are not limited to, scale certification, labeling of packaged products, collection and reporting of sales tax (for items such as plants, cut flowers, crafts, etc.), dairy, meat, egg and prepared food labeling and licensing requirements, etc.
- Vendors are required to submit anonymous gross sales figures for each market day. Receipts will be collected at the beginning of the following market day by the Market Manager or assistant. Slips will be provided by the Market Manager. The figures will help the Market gauge growth and effectiveness of marketing, etc.
C. Membership Information
- The annual membership fee is $25 for each vendor. Any vendor participating in the Market must be an approved, active member. In addition to vendor memberships, non-vendor memberships are also available. Friend of the Market memberships are $25 for individuals and $50 for businesses. Patron of the Market memberships are $75 and up. Each member has one vote and is eligible for election to the Board of Directors.
- Vendor members are expected to attend the annual fall membership meeting of the Bennington Farmers’ Market (see BFM Bylaws for annual meeting information), and are encouraged to attend other meetings as called by the Board of Directors. Non-vendor members are encouraged to attend all membership meetings.
- The Market reserves the right to cancel the privileges of any member who, in the opinion of the Board of Directors, has willfully violated the Rules and Regulations governing the Market.
- Members of the Board or the Market Manager with a designated knowledgeable assistant may inspect any farm or establishment with advance notice. Inspections will be made only with the member or his/her representative present unless otherwise permitted. Members must provide any help necessary to thoroughly document products and conditions recorded at the inspection. The member will be notified in writing of the results of the inspection within seven days of the inspection. Refusal to allow an inspection may result in suspension from the Market.
- All member complaints must be directed to the Market Manager or the President of the Board.
- Membership and market fees shall be established annually by the Board of Directors, subject to approval of the membership.
D. Stall Fees
- The daily and seasonal fees for a stall space (12 feet) as described in the vendor application. Daily fees are due on the day of the market.
- Vendors wishing to take advantage of a discount can pay an up-front full-season fee. Details are described in the application.
E. Schedule of Penalties for Violation of Rules and Regulations
First offense: Warning letter from board of directors.
Second offense: Indefinite suspension or termination of membership
Other Rules (e.g., being at market on time, cleaning up, unannounced absence, etc.):
First offense: Verbal Warning from Market Manager
Second offense: Warning letter from Market Manager
Third offense: Indefinite suspension or termination of membership
Grievance Procedure for Members
- Discuss the problem with the person(s) involved.
- Express the problem or concern as fairly and respectfully as you can.
- Explain your perspective, then listen to the other person’s side.
- Try to work out an agreeable solution together.
- If the problem persists, contact the Market Manager.
- Discuss the problem with the Market Manager. The Market Manager will listen to and discuss the issue with all parties concerned. The Market Manager will work with the parties toward an equitable resolution of the problem. If a satisfactory resolution is not reached, then the Market Manger will either suggest the parties participate in a mediation or bring the issue to the Board of Directors.
- Mediation between parties The parties involved will meet with the Board of Directors who will mediate between them and help the parties work out an agreeable solution.
Every effort will be made to address problems in a timely manner so as to minimize negative impact on the market during the market season.