Farmers' Market Certification PDF Print E-mail
Written by Rita Exner   
Monday, 08 November 2010 13:26
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What is farmers' market Certification? What does it do? Here's the place to find out...

Farmers' market Certification is a scheme run by FARMA and inspected by an independent body which assesses member markets to ensure they operate within our guidelines for what makes a farmers' market the real thing.

 


If you see this logo, you can be sure that the products sold at the market, and the people selling them, are working within a framework which is intended offer shoppers great local foods direct from the producer.

 

What is it?
Certification is an independently assessed scheme that ensures farmers’ markets are working to the recommended criteria. FARMA continues to develop and promote these standards; it is now a condition of membership that farmers’ markets apply for Certification within nine months of being accepted as a member. There are now some 200 farmers’ markets which have achieved this status, or are on their way. Look out for the logo. If your nearest farmers’ market is not Certified, please ask the organisers why not.

 

Development
The process was developed by a Certification Working Group made up entirely of market managers. Advice was taken from Trading Standards, Environmental Health, LACORS and accredited agents during its development. The process was piloted twice before completion and launch in June 2002.

 

The programme is owned by FARMA and can only be altered by FARMA in consultation with its Certification Working Group. The CWG has been broadened to include producers. Each application for Certification is assessed and inspected by independent accredited agents - SA Cert.

 

Certification is open to FARMA member farmers' markets and rewards markets that achieve the required standards with a Certificate, a promotional sign to display at their market/s and a license to use the term and logo on all their promotional material.

Farmers’ markets that have achieved Certification report increased customer confidence in the standards of the market and additional interest from both local and national media. Producers are also reassured to know that fellow stall holders at a market are genuine.

 

Developing market Rules that are based on the recommended criteria is the first step towards running a true farmers' market, it is a requirement of FARMA membership and is the basis of Certification. Good rules also enable market management to select producers that fit the criteria and reject those that don't.

 

 

To find out in more detail about the criteria of a farmers’ market and what FARMA Certification aims to ensure, please go on to the next page of this article.

 


 

Certification - abridged rules

Certification

Certification was launched in June 2002.  It is an independent verification scheme that ensures markets are working to the recommended criteria, see below.  FARMA has continued to develop and promote the Certification process and it is now a condition of membership that markets apply for Certification within nine months of being accepted.

The process was developed by the Certification Working Group made up entirely of market managers.  Advice was taken from Trading Standards, Environmental Health, LACORS and accredited agents at various stages of the development.  The process was piloted twice before completion and launch.

The process is owned by FARMA, can only be altered by FARMA in consultation with the Certification Working Group and is administered by our independent accredited agents - Soil Association Certification Limited on our behalf.

Certification is open to FARMA member farmers' markets and rewards markets that achieve the required standards with a Certificate, a promotional A1 sign to display at their market/s and a license to use the term and logo on all their promotional material. Markets that have achieved Certification report increased customer confidence in the standards of the market and additional interest from both local and national media.  Producers are also reassured to know that fellow stall holders at a market are genuine. For more about Cert click here, see additional page

Developing rules that are based on the recommended criteria is the first step towards running a true farmers' market, is a requirement of FARMA membership and forms the basis of Certification. Good rules also enable market management to select producers that fit the criteria and reject those that don't.

 

Guidance Criteria

The criteria for farmers’ markets was initially established by the first in the UK – Bath, opened in September 1997; these criteria now form the basis of FARMA recommendations to all new Farmers' Markets starting up and are an essential requirement for farmers’ markets that wish to become members. In consultation with FARMA some interpretation is flexible to allow for geographic and production variations throughout the UK .

Where a market fulfils the criteria, the National Farmers’ Retail & Markets Association will recognise the market as a Farmers' Market. More tightly defined criteria may be applied to fit local circumstances where this strengthens the philosophy behind Farmers' Markets.

These criteria have been kept as brief as possible. While they must be followed closely, not all circumstances have been provided for and exceptions will be considered where a case can be made. Each exception must be agreed by FARMA.

The interpretation of the criteria will be at the discretion of the market applying these guidance notes. FARMA will assist with any local disputes where a producer considers she or he has been unfairly excluded or that other producers have been allowed, by the Market, to flout the Criteria.

National Farmers’ Retail & Markets Association Core Criteria

Please refer to guidance notes below for details

1.  Locally produced
Only produce from the defined area shall be eligible for sale at a farmers market. Producers from the area defined as local must be given preference. (See guidance on interpretation below for allowable variations)

2.   Principal producer
The principal producer, a representative directly involved in the production process or a close family member must attend the stall.

3.   Primary, own produce
All produce sold must be grown, reared, caught by the stall holder within the defined local area

4.  Secondary, own produce
All produce must be brewed, pickled, baked, smoked or processed by the stall holder using at least one ingredient grown or reared within the defined local area.  The base product should be substantially altered

5.  Policy and information
Information should be available to customers at each market about the rules of the market and the production methods of the goods on offer. The Market should also publicise the availability of this information.

6.   Other rules
Markets may establish other criteria in addition to the above provided they do not conflict with the core criteria.

 

Guidance Criteria

FARMA has developed a set of criteria with which Farmers' Markets that wish to be members should comply. Individual circumstances will however be taken into account when considering their application.

Where a market fulfils the criteria, the National Association of Farmers' Markets will recognise the market as a Farmers' Market. More tightly defined criteria may be applied to fit local circumstances where this strengthens the philosophy behind Farmers' Markets.

These criteria have been kept as brief as possible. While they must be followed closely, not all circumstances have been provided for and exceptions will be considered where a case can be made. Each exception must be agreed by FARMA.

The interpretation of the criteria will be at the discretion of the market applying these guidance notes. FARMA will assist with any local disputes where a producer considers she or he has been unfairly excluded, or that other producers have been allowed by the Market to flout the Criteria.

Guidance Notes on the interpretation of the Criteria

1. Locally produced

To reach FARMA standards, your market must define an area as local from within which the majority of your producers will travel to sell at you market.  The area that you define as local is important for public perception of 'local food'.

There are two types of local definition that FARMA recognises:

Local as a radius

  • Local is a defined as a radius from the market. A definition of 30 miles is ideal, up to 50 miles is acceptable for larger cities and coastal or remote towns and villages.

Local as a county boundary

  • The definition of local may also be a county boundary or other geographic boundary such as a National park that is similar in size to the radius option.

Difficult to source produce:

Producers from further afield may attend the market if there is no suitable local producer of a given product. Markets that accept producers from beyond their definition of local should include a clause that states "preference will be given to the most local producer when a space becomes available at the market, without compromising quality".

 

Maximum distance:

If producers from beyond the area you define as local are permitted to attend your market/s it is recommended that a maximum distance of 100 miles of the market is stated.

2.  Principal producer

The stall should be operated by someone directly involved in production, not just in other aspects of the producer's business. One of the key principles of a Farmers' Market is for the consumer to have a direct relationship with the producer.

Community associations such as local allotment societies or Country Market groups may be agreed as principal producers on a case by case basis by the local market. In all cases they must be bone fide producers; if in doubt contact the FARMA office. (See notes on split stalls)

3.  Primary, own produce

Primary produce will have been grown or reared on the producer's land, for livestock and plants this means grown or finished (having spent at least 50% to its life) on the producer's land.  Preference should be given to the largest percentage of a products life cycle spent on the producer's land.

Game shot or caught within the defined local area may be sold at farmers markets by the person rearing or licensed to hunt the game.

Fish at a Farmers Market, ideally, should be sold by the fisherman. A representative of a number of known local boats may attend the market so long as the fishing grounds are known local, inshore waters and a link to the fishing business/es can be proven.

4.  Secondary, own produce

Anyone processing produce or adding value is a secondary producer.  For processed products the base product should be substantially altered and they must contain as much local ingredient as possible - this means grown or reared within the area the market defines as local.  Receipts should be kept as proof of origin for inspection by the market manager and Trading Standards when requested; producer growing their own should be prepared to be visited by an appointed representative from the market management.

Processors, who want to benefit from the success of farmers’ markets, which is partly built on the localness of the food on offer, should be prepared to abide by similar principles.


5.  Policy and information

A Farmers market should be clearly labelled as such and separate from any other retail operation especially other market stalls that will confuse customers’ perception of what a farmers’ market is.

Each Farmers' Market should be operated in accordance with Trading Standards, Environmental Health, alcohol licensing, market charters and other relevant legislation.

The policy of each Farmers' Market in terms of sourcing locally produced food and encouraging sustainable methods of production should be available to customers.

Producers must produce clear written information about production methods which shall be available to any consumer who requests it. The market must also publicise the availability of this information.

Markets should, for the time being, include a policy that no genetically modified organisms are knowingly sold or included in products sold at the market.

Markets may establish other standards which they feel are appropriate, e.g. restricting the use of ingredients perceived as undesirable by consumers, compliance with minimum animal welfare standards.

6.  Other criteria

Markets may set other rules which do not conflict with the main principles set out in the criteria.

The prime aim of the market must be to develop a vibrant environment where consumers and producers are brought together and the farmers’ markets principles are promoted and upheld.

Example rules are available from the FARMA office.

These policies will be kept under review and may be altered to take account of changing circumstances.  If you have comments or views about these criteria please contact us

Split Stalls
A market may choose to split a stall space to allow small scale producers such as allotment associations to sell at the market.  Each producer should be treated as a separate applicant and the criteria will apply as before.

In addition for split stalls:

  • All producers involved should complete separate application forms
  • All producers involved should have their own insurance
  • Each producer’s areas of the stall should distinct and produce must be clearly labelled with the producer’s name and place of business in addition to legal labelling requirements.

Market management may agree a concession on shared attendance at the market for very small scale producers – please contact the FARMA office.

For formerly constituted co-operatives such as Country Markets (formerly WI Markets) please contact FARMA for advice.

These policies will be kept under review and may be altered to take account of changing circumstances.  If you have comments or views about these criteria please email us This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 June 2012 12:58
 

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