UT Extension Assists with Farmers Market Development

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New Publication Now Available Online

KNOXVILLE- Tenn. –- Although National Farmers Market Week is coming to a close, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture reminds all those managing farmers markets and vendors who participate in direct sales that resources are available all year long through UT Extension.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines a farmers market as, “a common area where several farmers gather on a recurring basis to sell a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, and other farm products directly to consumers.” The number of farmers markets in the United States has increased dramatically from 1,755 in 1994, when the USDA began recording the number of farmers markets, to 6,964 current farmers market listings reported in 2023. Markets continue to increase across the state as consumers seek out locally produced products and communities strive to offer opportunities for residents and tourists to support the local economy and access nutritious food.

A new UT Extension publication, PB 1918, “A Guide for Developing a Farmers Market in Tennessee” is now available online and printed copies will soon be available in each county Extension office statewide. Rachel Painter, UT Extension value-added agricultural marketing specialist with the UTIA Center for Profitable Agriculture, and Kathy Chippendale, recent masters graduate of the Herbert College of Agriculture, developed this new publication in response to the need for a concise resource and guide for individuals interested in developing and managing farmers markets in Tennessee.

Chippendale has served as a farmers market board member and secretary for many years in the East Tennessee area and said, “The success of a market depends upon meeting the needs of consumers and support from local agricultural producers, stakeholders and the surrounding community. When the community is truly invested and supports the market, it can be a fun and rewarding experience for everyone.”

Painter also serves farmers market managers and vendors statewide through one-on-one consultations and educational programs. The farmers market manager training and vendor bootcamp trainings are held annually and are available on the Center for Profitable Agriculture YouTube channel. A participant of the 2023 bootcamp series shared, “I have taken educational classes through UT Extension before, but I always learn something new. This information is extremely valuable for us and our fruit and vegetable operation. Even after taking four pages of notes during this session, I am excited to watch these videos again to continue learning more and share them with others.”

To be notified of future farmers market manager or vendor trainings and resources, contact Rachel Painter at rpainter@utk.edu.

For more information about the Center for Profitable Agriculture and its programs, visit cpa.tennessee.edu.

Through its land-grant mission of research, teaching and extension, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions. utia.tennessee.edu.

Media Contact

Rachel Painter

UT Center for Profitable Agriculture