The average age of a farmer in Oregon is 58, and OFMA believes it is essential to support beginning farmers and ranchers and the institutions, like farmers markets, which help them succeed. Farmers markets are a place where many producers get their start: they are places where brands are built, products are tested and refined, capital is raised and skills are learned. Farmers markets are powerful engines for small business development! As farmers markets become better at supporting their vendors during their first five years of sales, they help support their vendors’ future growth and success.
OFMA, in partnership with five small and medium sized rural farmers markets, Oregon State University’s Center for Small Farms and Community Food Systems, and other partners, has been awarded a $247,000 federal grant through the USDA’s Farmers Market Promotion Program. With this three-year grant, OFMA has launched the Beginning Vendor Support Network (BVSN), which aims to study and support the role of farmers markets as small business incubators for their beginning vendors.
This program is designed to create a community of practice around the five farmers markets selected for participation, and give them the tools they need to better help their newest vendors succeed at their markets. The managers of the Albany, Clatskanie, Manzanita, Umpqua Valley and Wallowa County Farmers Markets, will spend the next three years hearing from experts, sharing insights with each other, launching customized support initiatives for their own vendors, collecting sales data and working with consultants.
Meet the BVSN markets!
The Clatskanie Farmers Market was founded in the spring of 2014 as a result of positive community interest. CFM now operates as a nonprofit organization, operating under the guidance of a dedicated Board of Directors, with an emphasis on food literacy education and advocacy for our community’s healthy lifestyle. This seasonal, downtown market is right off Hwy 30 and features a unique green-space setting, weekly live music and a family-friendly outdoor venue to shop for local and unique produce, arts & crafts, and much more! CFM gladly accepts SNAP, WIC and FDNP. You can shop locally for your family’s healthy groceries, ingredients for summer barbecues, unique gifts for those special people in your life, or just come to have lunch and enjoy this weekly fun, community event! We’ll see YOU at the Coolest Little Market in Oregon!
The Albany Farmers’ Market, founded in 1978, is thought to be the oldest continuously operating open-air farmers’ market in Oregon. In 1998, this market became part of Corvallis-Albany Farmers’ Markets. The Albany Farmers’ Market began on the riverfront, next to Albany’s oldest commercial building, the 1866 Avery Mill. In 2007, the market moved to its current location in the City Hall parking lot and the adjoining courthouse block.
Whether you’re visiting the beach for the weekend, or are a local to the coastal town of Manzanita, Oregon, you can start your summer weekends with fresh food and fun at the Manzanita Farmers Market every Friday evening from mid -June through mid-September. Over 50 vendors at each Market showcase high quality products from farms, ranches, fisheries, chefs, brewers, nonprofits, and local artisans, all from within 100 miles of Manzanita.
The Umpqua Valley Farmers’ Market serves the local Roseburg area with fresh produce, plants, prepared food, arts and crafts. And with vendors from the surrounding area, you know that you are supporting the local economy and your neighbors. We enhance the community by promoting small local farmers and producers, strengthening the local economy, and facilitating healthier nutrition, while bringing people together in a festive atmosphere.
Wallowa County Farmers’ Market (WCFM) is a small nonprofit organization led by a volunteer board of directors who are committed to providing a marketplace for fresh, local food and unique arts and crafts in support of community, local agriculture, and small business. WCFM’s purpose is to provide this rural and geographically isolated community access to fresh, nutritious food and locally made artwork and crafts. The market also serves as a gathering place for people to come together to socialize and participate in special events.
Stay tuned for stories about these markets’ progress over and toolkits that will help your market better support its beginning vendors. Click here to sign up for the OFMA email list, and we’ll keep you in the loop!