Growing Your Brand: Starting a Farmers Market Business Youth Workbook
Mississippi farmers markets need more young farmers, but starting a small farm or food-based business can be challenging. Writing down your ideas and doing research can help you stay organized and pick the right products for your business. This workbook is designed to help young entrepreneurs brainstorm and evaluate their ideas for a small farmers market business.
Step 1: Determine Your Product
- What types of products do you know how to grow or produce? Brainstorm about all the different products you might want to grow or produce. Visit Extension's website to research different products. Your county Extension agent or local Master Gardeners can help you decide what products will be best for you.
- Visit with your local farmers market manager to find out what products are in demand and what time of year these products are needed. Schedule a tour of your local market. You can find markets in your area by visiting the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce website. Vegetables, fruits, and value-added products are popular farmers market items.
Standing Out at a Farmers Market from Penn State Extension
Step 2: Set Your Budget and Price
- Determine what you need to grow or produce your product, and how much it will cost. Visit the MSU Extension website (http://www.extension.msstate.edu/) to identify how to grow or make products such as produce, honey, jellies, salsas, and more. Work with the MSU Extension agent in your county to answer all your production questions.
- Fill in the table in the attached PDF to determine your production costs.
- Determine your price.
Use the budget information in the table in the PDF to determine the price for your product.Use this formula to determine your product’s price:
cost per unit (direct (variable) costs plus indirect (fixed) costs allocated to each unit) + profit per unit of product sold = price
- How much of your product must you sell to make a profit?
Next, determine your break-even price. The break-even price is the minimum price you need to charge for your product to cover your costs. Use this formula:
direct (variable) cost + fixed cost allocated to each unit sold = break-even price
The Farm Service Agency offers operating loans for youth agricultural businesses.
Basics for Starting a Small Business
Considerations When Pricing Your Agricultural and Value-Added Products
Step 3: Rules and Regulations
- Identify what rules and regulations must be followed.
- Contact the farmers market and review the vendor rules with an adult.
- Visit the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce to learn about rules and requirements for farmers market vendors.
- Contact your county Extension agent to learn updated information about produce safety rules.
- Contact the Mississippi State Department of Health to learn about food laws and food safety regulations.
Food as a Business: Navigating Food Safety Regulations
Step 4: Marketing
- Develop a marketing plan for your business. Decide who you want to buy your product and how you can appeal to what they need or want.
- Choose a business name and design a logo for your product or business.
- Create a social media presence for your business. Work with Extension specialist Lauren-Colby Nickels if you need help.
Grow Your Local Brand Awareness in Your Community
7 Ways to Quickly Grow Your Food Business with Instagram
Learn about resources such as the Genuine Mississippi program to help you promote your local products
Step 5: Design Your Booth
Your booth needs to be clean, attractive, and visible.
- Draw a picture of what your display will look like.
- Design a sign and displays for your booth. Signs should communicate a clear message about your business or product.
- Decide how you will package your product for easy purchase. Research labeling requirements with the Mississippi Department of Health and the Mississippi State Department of Agriculture and Commerce. List what needs to be on your package or label.
- Think about accepting digital payment or pre-orders.
Farmers Market Displays for Young Entrepreneurs
MSU Extension Publication 3746 Farmers Market Displays for Young Entrepreneurs
Step 6: Timeline
- Create a timeline or schedule for your business.
- Here are some tasks to consider:
- Visit with market manager
- Select product
- Create cash flow statements and business plan
- Apply for funding if needed
- Review regulations
- Implement all food and produce safety rules and practices
- Plant or begin production
- Design signs and logos
- Create social media presence
- Register with local market
- Get set up for digital payment
- Implement marketing plan
- Harvest products
- Begin selling at the market
This publication is part of the Growing Your Brand Youth Farmers Market curriculum.
The information given here is for educational purposes only. References to commercial products, trade names, or suppliers are made with the understanding that no endorsement is implied and that no discrimination against other products or suppliers is intended.
Publication 3828 (POD-11-22)
By Rachael Carter, PhD, Extension Specialist, Government and Community Development; Courtney Crist, PhD, Associate Extension Professor, Food Science, Nutrition, and Health Promotion; Lauren-Colby Nickels, Extension Instructor, Extension Center for Technology Outreach; Terence Norwood, Extension Instructor, Extension Center for Technology Outreach; Elizabeth Canales, PhD, Associate Professor, Agricultural Economics; and Martin Hegwood, Assistant Extension Professor, Government and Community Development.
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