Market Promotion

Promote your farmers’ market using approaches that cost nothing except for doing them. Of course they need to be kept updated as necessary. To generate the greatest visibility, do as many of these as you can. Click images to visit real examples.

Passive promotional methods are those you put out there and wait for people to find, so placing your market info on high viewer websites brings the greatest results.

Active methods are those that you send out to viewers whenever you wish.

Interactive are those where a dialog is created between you and any number of viewers.

Create a website for your market (passive)

Creating an independent stand-alone website for your market doesn’t have to cost anyting. Many markets include members with enough computer savvy to create a website for the market, and often these members will already have some web hosting space of thier own to locate the market’s website. Alternatively, there are places on the internet where websites may be created and hosted for free, although using these sometimes means having ads appear next to your website. Some markets create website from blogging software, but this type of site tends to be less useful for displaying all the info your market will want to display to viewers. For examples of what has been done already, see the page of links to Maine farmers’ market websites. Your market’s website can contain the market’s schedule and location, photos, links to it’s Facebook page, a link for shoppers to sign up for a market newsletter, schedule of special events, and anything else that the market want to communicate to its shoppers. Be sure to include the market’s web address in all of your market’s paper publications.

Aside from it’s promotional aspect, your market’s website can also contain viewable and downloadable versions of any of your market documents (rules, by-laws, meeting minutes, etc.) so that any member or prospective member can access them at any time.

The next level, which does involve a minimal annual expense, is to create a web address (a “domain name”) for your market in the form, which costs less than $20 annually. This can be done at any time and that web address can be made to point to your market’s website wherever it is hosted.

List your Market at . (passive)

The Maine Department of Agriculture has a promotional website called where you can create an account and build a web page for your farmers’ market. Because is an official state website, it has automatically high visibility, and includes promotion for a wide variety of other agricultural activities, such as agricultural fairs, lists of Maine farmers’ markets, pick-your-own operations, of farms that accept EBT cards, farm stands, etc. Log in any time to edit your page. This is an easy alternative to creating your own web page, although doing both is a good idea, too.

Create a Facebook page for your market. (passive, interactive)

You may already have a Facebook page of your own, but you can create another specifically for your market. Go to and create an account under your market’s name. Then add photos and newsy marekt info. Many markets use their market’s page as a blog, adding comments whenever something of interest is happening at the market.

Viewers, too, may add comments and questions. Add links to your market’s website and to the market members’ facebook pages. Include news and photos of market events, temporary change of the market location or schedule, what’s coming in to season, and so on. Reply to viewer comments made on your page.

Start a Market Email Newsletter (active)

Many markets have begun to use an email newsletter to communicate with their members. For more information and tips on how to do this for your market, see the Email Newsletters Page. A link for market shoppers to subscribe usually appears on the market’s website. Any member of the market can take on the newsletter job as their part of helping to promote the market, and that member would periodically solicit content from other market members.

Other ideas for promoting your market include:

  • The Value of Farmers’ Markets. Slightly updated flyer from the mid 1990’s listing the value of farmers’ markets to Maine. (pdf, print “Multiple pages per sheet” to get two per page)
  • Farmers’ Market Ads we’d like to see. These ads were used in the late 1990’s by the Fairfield Farmers’ Market.
  • Promotional Ideas from the mid 1990’s from Maine and Vermont.
  • Farmers’ Market slogans, snippits you can use in market brochures, advertising, or in conversations with market shoppers.
  • Seasonal Availability Chart (PDF). From the Fairfield Farmers’ Market in the late 1990’s, designed from a similar document done by the Brewer Farmers’ Market in the late 1980’s. Accurate and complete information for a seasonal availability chart is always difficult to display, and needs to be taylored to each market. However for the person not familiar with the local seasonality of production they do provide some rough information about when items are available. A similar item is the Crop Calendar from the Orono Farmers’ Market website (needs to be updated with recent member products).
  • Market Surveys. Sticky Economy Evaluation Device is a website that walks you through the steps of taking a survey at your market, then generates reports with the data. Another free online survey creation device can be found at Survey Monkey which allows up to 10 questions on their free survice, but does not suggest what questions to ask. Both require creation of a user account.
  • Maine Farmers’ Market Convention is sponsored annually by the Washington Hancock Community Agency. Includes current Convention schedule and archives from past convention workshops.
  • Well done promotional logos of and about farmers’ markets. Beautiful graphics and great slogans. Graphics intensive page!

About Tom Roberts

When I started attending the Brewer Farmers’ Market back in August of 1983, my sole concern was being able to sell the produce my farm was growing at a good price. After attending market for a year or two, I began to realize that how the market was organized had a great impact on my sales. And how the market was organized also influenced how it made decisions about dues, new members, what could be sold at market, and how it promoted itself—and this, too, had an impact on my sales. So I got involved in the market’s steering committee and began to understand how various market members thought the market should operate. Some wanted a market czar, some wanted everyone to be allowed to do their own thing. But everyone seemed to agree that if the market as a whole did well, then so did they.