1. What is a farmer’s market?

Farmer’s markets are usually open-air, outdoor gatherings where growers and producers can sell their crops directly to consumers, as opposed to selling them to a grocery store.  Accoding to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the explosion in the number of farmer’s markets continues despite the poor economy, up 13% from October 2008 to October 2009, with roughly 4,000 new farmer’s markets starting since the USDA started keeping track in 1994.

Bill McKibben, in his groundbreaking work Deep Economy:  The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future, makes an extremely compelling case for local food (production and processing) as the primary key in the transition to a sustainable economy full of good jobs, functional communities, reduced poverty, and environmental sustainability.  Farmer’s markets are a quintessential element in the development of local food systems.

2. What required knowledge or skills are necessary?

There are no formal educational or training requirements for this job.  However, the work is strenuous and requires that the worker be able to be on their feet for extended periods of time, be well-organized, a good ‘people person’, and be able to lift up to 25 pounds.

3. How much money is required to start?

$   (on a scale of $ to $$$$$)

4. What is the income potential?

$   (on a scale of $ to $$$$$)

5. What is the best location for a farmer’s market?

Urban (best), semi-urban (very good), suburbs (very good), rural (fair/poor).

6.  Three best questions to ask yourself to find out if this business is right for you (if you can answer yes to all three, this business might be for you):

Are you social, extroverted, and love to connect people?
Do you have a passion for healthy food?
Are you in a position where you can start a business that might take 10-20 hours per week and not pay very much?

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About The Author

Scott Cooney

Scott Cooney (twitter: scottcooney) is an adjunct professor of Sustainability in the MBA program at the University of Hawai'i, green business startup coach, author of Build a Green Small Business: Profitable Ways to Become an Ecopreneur (McGraw-Hill), and developer of the sustainability board game GBO Hawai'i. Scott has started, grown and sold two mission-driven businesses, failed miserably at a third, and is currently in his fourth. Scott's current company has three divisions: a sustainability blog network that includes the world's biggest clean energy website and reached over 5 million readers in December 2013 alone; Pono Home, a turnkey and franchiseable green home consulting service that won entrance into the clean tech incubator known as Energy Excelerator; and Cost of Solar, a solar lead generation service to connect interested homeowners and solar contractors. In his spare time, Scott surfs, plays ultimate frisbee and enjoys a good, long bike ride. Find Scott on

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