Fruit & Vegetable Magazine

Features Fruit Production
Revised farmers’ market guidelines approved


November 6, 2009
By Marg Land


Topics

November 4, 2009 – Alberta
Agriculture and Rural Development (ARD) undertook a consultative review process
of the guidelines that govern approved farmers’ markets in Alberta.
Recommendations for revisions and changes to the guidelines were submitted to
the Minister, Agriculture and Rural Development and approved in September 2009.

November 4, 2009 – Alberta
Agriculture and Rural Development (ARD)
undertook a consultative review process
of the guidelines that govern approved farmers’ markets in Alberta.
Recommendations for revisions and changes to the guidelines were submitted to
the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development and approved in September 2009.

Industry stakeholders were
strongly in favour of the Approved Farmers’ Market Program continuing with
guidelines in place requiring minimum standards for all approved farmers’
markets. Individual market management is encouraged to strive to put higher
standards in place and make decisions at the market level that meet the needs
of their local stakeholders.

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Some of the highlights of
the revised guidelines include:

  • An advisory panel will
    provide input into approval status for new and existing markets as well as best
    practices. This will result in more stakeholder buy-in and commitment to the
    Approved Farmers’ Market Program.
  • Roles of all the
    stakeholders have been described in the document.
  • Minimum requirements which
    must be met in order to retain approval status are clearly described in the
    guidelines. Consequences for non-compliance are also described.
  • Market manager training
    offered by Alberta Farmers’ Market Association (Levels 1 – 3) is mandatory for
    all managers within two years of becoming a manager. Industry specific food
    safety training is being developed and will be mandatory within two years of
    being introduced.
  • Annual paperwork must be
    submitted no later than January 31 of each year. The information provided is
    used to calculate each market’s 80/20 split.
  • The 80/20 rule remains as
    a minimum requirement for market vendor mix.
  • The definition of the 80
    per cent now includes alternative marketing arrangements like producer-owned
    cooperatives.
  • Vendors falling into the
    80 per cent category are still allowed to have staff members selling at the
    markets.
  • The 20 per cent category
    includes out-of-province vendors, resale vendors and commercial vendors.
  • The guideline prohibiting
    approval of competing markets when in a limited trading area is gone. This will
    result in increased marketing options, healthy competition and, ultimately,
    more profitability for vendors. All applications must now be accompanied by a
    business case which describes the role the market will play in the community,
    pros, cons, threats, sufficiency of the trading area, etc.

Two new sections have been
added:

  • Industry best practices –
    This was added so that market management is aware of best practices and can
    incorporate them into their operations.
  • Frequently asked questions

One of the efforts to help
market management be more successful and better manage their operations is to
offer information documents and templates. As these are developed, they will be
made available in print and online at www.sunnygirl.ca and
www.albertamarkets.com.

The guidelines are
available online at www.sunnygirl.ca or in hard copy by contacting Eileen
Kotowich at 780-853-8223 (dial 310-0000 first for toll free access).