“Roots” Guidelines for WSFMA Member Markets
The Washington State Farmers Market Association’s mission is to support vibrant and sustainable farmers markets in Washington State through member services, education and advocacy.
Across the State of Washington, Farmers Markets operate in every type of community-cities, suburbs, and rural areas. They vary in size and business structure according to their location. Regardless of the Market’s location or the number of vendors, Washington State consumers have the same expectations, and it is these expectations that every Farmers Market should meet if it truly intends to be successful in its goals:
- A Farmers Market is where a grower can sell directly to the consumer and is most likely the small farmer’s best opportunity to profit from their land and efforts; and
- A Farmers Market is a marketplace where consumers can talk directly to the grower, purchase the freshest produce possible, and experience the health-giving effects of that freshness.
What is Required to Become a Member?
The WSFMA is committed to an agriculturally based market system. Membership is based on meeting the following requirements.
Market Vendor Roster
All Member Markets are required to maintain a Vendor Roster, which shows an average of five (5) Farmers* per market day. Vendors who are Resellers* should not be counted in the Farmer* category, but be listed in a separate Reseller* category.
a. Vendor Rosters should include the following contact information for vendors who are going to participate in your market during the upcoming season:
- Name of Owner
- Business Name
- Category of Vendor
- City, State, Zip, County (for farmers, include cross streets for each owned, leased, or rented property)
- Phone number, email address, website address (public information only)
(Note: First year markets will be asked to submit their vendor roster to the WSFMA prior to the Market’s start date.)
All WSFMA Member Markets are required to collect, and report, at the time of submitting their application, total vendor, gross sales from the previous season according to each category below.
- Total combined gross annual sales of all Farmers*
- Total combined gross annual sales of Processors* and Resellers*
- Total combined gross annual sales listed in Others* category(Those with (*) refer to definitions listed below.)
WSFMA Gross Sales Formula
In order to understand the organization and structure of Member Markets, each new market is asked to provide the WSFMA with as many of the documents from the list below as possible. Established markets are encouraged to send copies of new and revised materials to the WSFMA for inclusion in the Association’s market document collection that serves as a resource for market managers and industry professionals.
- Market Bylaws
- Vendor Rules/Guidelines/Policies, Vendor Handbook
- Vendor Application Form
- Blank Vendor Sales Report Form
- Business or Strategic Plan
- Market Manager’s Job Description
- Sample Newsletter
Canopy Weight Requirements
Canopy Weights must be attached to vendor and market canopies at all times. Member markets shall agree to, and enforce, the following language and shall include the following paragraph in all market contracts, guidelines, and vendor handbooks or policies regarding canopy use.
“All vendors who wish to erect canopies (including umbrellas) on the Farmers Market site during a normal period of market operations, including the set up and break down period, are required to have their canopies sufficiently and safely anchored to the ground from the time their canopy is put up to the time it is taken down. Any vendor who fails to properly anchor his or her canopy will not be allowed to sell at the Farmers Market on that market day, unless that vendor chooses to take down and stow their canopy and sell without it. Each canopy leg must have no less than 24# (pounds) anchoring each leg, and market umbrellas, 50#. Alternatively, canopies may be secured on grass or unpacked soil by steel auger anchors or spiral tent stakes of at least ½” thickness and 12 – 15” length, properly installed and secured. Non-spiraled, straight tent stakes are not an acceptable canopy anchoring system. Holding capacity of auger anchor systems is dependent on soil conditions and density and may not be adequate in rocky soils.”
For examples of recommended safety methods pertaining to canopy weights, please refer to “Canopy Safety 101” document.
An onsite visit by a WSFMA Board Member, or appointed Inspection Committee, will occur bi-annually in order to assess the degree to which the Member Market is meeting the requirements of the WSFMA according to the “Roots Guidelines for Membership”, as well as assess any and all market needs.
What is Not Allowed at WSFMA Markets?
Member Markets are not allowed to have the following vendors selling in their market, unless said vendor falls within an ‘Exception’. In all cases, these items are restricted from being sold in a WSFMA Market because the products are either not produced, processed, or created in Washington State by the vendor, or funding, marketing, or other assistance given to vendors comes from a source separate from the vendor. However, vendors who are not allowed to sell at WSFMA Markets are allowed to sponsor market events/activities, as long as they are not selling or taking orders to sell.
- No Commercial or Imported Items
- No Second Hand Items (Exception: Those vendors who take a second hand item and recycle that item into a new use.);
- No Franchises: Those who have entered into an agreement or received a license to sell a company’s products and/or use a company’s packaging, logo, ingredients, and/or marketing tools under that license or any franchise agreement;
- No Non-Owner Operated Businesses: Only those businesses that are operated and controlled by their Washington State-based, or border county-based, owners are permitted at WSFMA Markets; and
- No Out-of-State Processing: All processed products sold at WSFMA Markets must be processed within Washington State, or the border counties listed in Appendix A.
All WSFMA Member Markets are required to hold liability coverage either through the company(ies) recommended by WSFMA or an equivalent policy with another insurance agency. Those markets with liability insurance provided by another carrier must provide the WSFMA with a copy of their Liability Certificate with the WSFMA named as an additional insured. The minimum required limits of liability must be equivalent to those of the WSFMA recommended policy(ies). The carrier must have a minimum Insurer Credit Rating of A.
Who Is Allowed To Sell At WSFMA Member Markets?
One who raises produce, plants or botanicals, or animals which they sell at WSFMA Member Markets on land they own, lease or rent, in the State of Washington or border counties(Please see “Appendix A: WSFMA Approved Bordering Counties”). The definition of Farmer may also include someone who processes produce, fruit, berries, botanicals, meats, honey, etc., which is grown, raised, or harvested on their own, leased or rented property, in the State of Washington or border counties and then turned into value added product(s) such as jams, cider, salsa, vinegars, alcoholic beverages(*), essential oils or any other botanical use. It may also include Farmers who raise the basic ingredient(s) of a product, but who must send it out for fundamental processing, either within Washington State or border counties, before creating the value added product. Such Vendors might include those Farmers selling certain essential oils, smoked meats or fish, etc. This excludes Resellers or those who might work on, or manage a corporately owned farm and have permission to dispose of surplus product.
- SEAFOODS: In the case of seafood, the vendor must own, lease, or operate the fishing vessel or own, lease or rent the parcel of land where the seafood is caught or harvested for sale at WSFMA Member Markets. The vendor must be a legal resident of the State of Washington.
- ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES: Alcoholic beverages must be made entirely from ingredients grown in Washington, or from grapes grown in a recognized Washington appellation, except for certain additives required for processing which cannot be produced in the State of Washington, not amounting to more than 5% of the total volume of the beverage. Because at this time there appears to be no beer made in Washington State that meets these requirements, WSFMA recommends that its Member Markets only apply to be authorized for wine sales by the State Liquor Control Board.
One who sells foods that they have personally prepared or processed on property that they own, lease, or rent in the State of Washington. Processors are persons offering fresh food products (such as meats, seafood, ciders, wines, baked goods, jams, nuts, etc.) that have added value to their product through some sort of “hands-on” processing (e.g., hand-filleted fish, smoked or butchered meats, handmade candies/nuts, etc.), but have not raised the ingredients themselves. All Processors must meet all Federal, State, County and local Health Department requirements. All appropriate permits and licenses must be submitted and filed with the Market Manager. Processors must produce their products in Washington State only, or in the border counties listed in Appendix A. Processed food producers should use ingredients from Washington State farms or waters as much as possible, and WSFMA Member Markets should give stall preference to thoseProcessors who use ingredients from Washington State farms or waters.
- SEAFOODS: In the case of seafood vendors, the product must originate from the greater Pacific Northwest, which includes Washington, Oregon, Alaska and British Columbia.
- ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES: Alcoholic beverages must be made entirely from ingredients grown in Washington, or from grapes grown in a recognized Washington appellation, except for certain additives required for processing, but which cannot be produced in the State of Washington, not amounting to more than 5% of the total volume of the beverage.
One who buys produce from farmers in Washington State, or the border counties listed in Appendix A only, transports it to a WSFMA Member Market, and resells it to the consumer. Resellers are allowed to sell at WSFMA Member Markets, but do have strict criteria to follow:
- Resellers are expected to be the only stop between the grower and the consumer.
- The product they buy must not come from shippers, warehouses, jobbers or wholesale distributors.
- They must not sell any produce not grown in Washington State or the border counties listed in Appendix A (For example: oranges or bananas).
- They may sell any produce they grow themselves on their own property (seeFarmers).
- Resellers are sellers of crops that cannot be grown reliably, or are not offered for sale in sufficient quantity, by Farmers selling at a given WSFMA Member Market, as determined by the individual WSFMA Member Market’s governing body.
- Resellers must have all crops pre-approved by the Member Market’s governing body before delivering the crops to market for sale. Approved, resold crops must be specifically limited, so as not to compete with the crops of Farmers within the geographic vendor boundaries of the WSFMA Member Market, as defined by the Market’s policies and by-laws.
- All Resellers, or Farmers, must label their products as being resold if they are not selling products which they have grown, raised, or harvested themselves on property that they own, lease, or rent.
- All information declaring which products are resold must be available and displayed for the consumer to easily read. Signage must clearly state which farm(s) produced the products; other terms synonymous with “resold” may be substituted.
- Resellers from border counties are not allowed to sell at WSFMA Member Markets.
Prepared Food Vendors
Prepared Food vendors (Concessionaires) offer freshly made foods, available for sale and immediate consumption on-site at WSFMA Member Markets. Prepared Food vendors shall submit and also possess and maintain all required State, County, and local Health Department permits. All appropriate permits and licenses shall be filed with the management of the market. Prepared Food vendors should use ingredients produced in Washington State as much as possible. Further, when selecting Prepared Foodvendors, WSFMA Member Markets are encouraged to provide a good variety of healthy foods and to give preference to those vendors using ingredients produced in Washington State only. Prepared Food vendors from border counties, listed in Appendix A, are only allowed to sell at WSFMA Member Markets operating along the Washington State border; WSFMA Member Markets should give priority to thosePrepared Food vendors who use ingredients from Washington State farms or waters.
One who creates with their own hands the products they offer for sale at WSFMA Member Markets. To qualify as an Artisan/Crafter, a majority of the tools and equipment used to produce their products must require skill, personal handling and/or manipulation. Artisans/ Crafters should incorporate materials grown or produced in Washington State as much as possible and create their products in Washington State only. Artisan/Crafters from border, listed in Appendix A, are only allowed to sell at WSFMA Member Markets operating along the Washington State border; WSFMA Member Markets should give priority to those Artisan/Crafter vendors who use materials from Washington State.
Roots Guidelines Policies
The purpose of the Roots Guidelines is to ensure that WSFMA Member Markets operate by a consistent set of standards to meet the consumer’s expectations of a Farmers Market (see preamble). From time to time, the WSFMA is asked to review, clarify or modify the Roots Guidelines. Members may request clarification and/or recommend changes by using the Roots Guidelines Review Procedure (Appendix B).
Any changes to the Roots Guidelines will require a majority vote of the WSFMA Board of Directors.
Proposed changes may be amended, accepted, rejected or tabled indefinitely at the board’s discretion.
WSFMA Member Markets will have until the next year’s WSFMA application deadline to adopt any new Roots amendments to remain eligible for WSFMA membership.
A Member Market may request a temporary exemption to the Roots Guidelines if barriers exist that make it difficult to comply within the first year. Requests for exemption must be approved by a majority vote of the WSFMA Board of Directors and must include an adoption plan and an extension deadline of no longer than 2 years.
WSFMA Membership may be revoked if adoption of the Roots Guidelines does not occur within the approved timeframe.
WSFMA Approved Border Counties
Those Member Markets operating in counties bordering the States of Oregon and Idaho may allow Farmers and Processors from outside of Washington State whose farms—either owned, leased, or rented—are located in the counties on the lists below.
Prepared Food vendors and Artisan/Crafter vendors from border counties are allowed to participate at WSFMA operating Members Markets along the State lines; however, priority should be given to vendors from, and using, ingredients and materials in Washington State as much as possible. Resellers from border counties are not allowedto sell at any WSFMA Member Markets.
Roots Guidelines Review Procedure
The WSFMA “Roots Guidelines for Member Markets” will be reviewed annually by the WSFMA Board of Directors & Staff.
WSFMA Member markets, board members or staff may submit proposed changes to the Roots Guidelines by completing the Proposed Roots Guideline Changes form. The form may be submitted electronically, via mail or in person to the WSFMA office no later thanOctober 1st, to be considered for the following market season.
Proposed changes will be reviewed by the Executive Committee and coordinated with the WSFMA Secretary.
Proposed changes vetted by the WSFMA Executive Committee and reviewed and amended as necessary by the WSFMA Board of Directors & Staff will be posted to the WSFMA website and sent to all WSFMA members so that all members will have an opportunity to comment on the proposed changes up to and including the annual WSFMA meeting.
A summary of the proposed changes and comments will be presented at the annual meeting where membership comments will be heard and discussed.
Changes will again be reviewed and amended as necessary by the WSFMA Board of Directors & Staff at the early season board retreat, voted on at the following regular board meeting and, if adopted, will be included in the annual membership packet mailed each spring.
Revised February 2014