Market rules and by-laws: What’s the difference?

Many people use the terms “Rules” and “By-Laws” interchangeably. They are similar, but have basic differences. You might think of the difference this way: By-laws are like our Constitution, and Rules are like our laws.

Rules (sometimes called “guidelines” or “regulations”) are for the day-to-day operation of the markets. They are often changed a little bit each year during the market’s winter meetings, to reflect new opening dates, a new treasurer, a change in the dues, etc.

By-laws define the structure of the association of farmers which operates the farmers’ market, and once in place are rarely amended. By-laws generally include a definition of officers and their job descriptions and powers, the general purpose of the association, what to do with assets upon dissolution of the association, and so forth.

Most markets have rules; many have by-laws, as well. Those few markets that are incorporated always have both.

There are several example of market rules and by-laws accessible from the menu above.

Please send us a copy (preferably via email) of your market’s current Rules and By-Laws so we can post them here.

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.