Welcome to the Alaska Farmers Markets Toolkit! We’re so excited that you’ve found your way here and are passionate about starting, enhancing, or supporting a farmers market in your community. This toolkit provides most of the information you’ll need to start a market from scratch or to grow your market with more programs, along with helpful information, tips, and templates for running a successful market. To navigate the toolkit, follow the chapter number and names along the left side of the screen. There are multiple chapters, each with subcategories that will open when you hover over the chapter name. In each chapter, you will find downloadable resources that you can adapt to your market’s needs. This toolkit is a living document and is meant to be updated regularly, so please send us any recommendations you may have or resources that you’d like to share.
The toolkit is available online and as a print version–if you would like to request a physical copy for your market, or provide feedback, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. The online version will be a living document and may change over time. Be sure to check back regularly for updates and additional resources that may not be included in your printed copy!
We’ll meet you at the farmers market!
Alaska Farmers Market Association
We acknowledge the 229 Alaska Native nations upon whose ancestral and unceded traditional territories lands and waters our farmers markets, farm stands, and farms reside. We acknowledge this not only in thanks to the Indigenous communities who have held relationship with this land for generations but also in recognition of the historical and ongoing legacy of colonialism. Additionally, we acknowledge this as a point of reflection for us all as we work towards dismantling colonial practices.
The Alaska Farmers Markets Toolkit was made possible by a 2020 USDA Alaska Specialty Crop Block Grant – a huge thanks to the USDA and the Alaska Division of Agriculture for the opportunity to create this toolkit. Thank you to the Washington State Farmers Market and the Farmers Market Coalition for your invaluable inspiration and guidance. And most importantly, thank you to all the numerous farmers markets and agriculture organizations in Alaska and beyond who provided resources and feedback.
The Alaska Farmers Market Association (AFMA) was founded in 2009 by farmers market managers, supporters, and the Alaska Division of Agriculture. It was relaunched in 2016 with the support of funding from USDA Farmers Market Promotion Program grants. In 2020, AFMA expanded its mission to support and promote vibrant and sustainable farmers markets throughout Alaska, to include support for farm stands, CSAs, and food hubs as well.
Since 2006, the number of farmers markets in Alaska has more than tripled, growing from 13 markets in 2006 to 41 in 2017. In 2021, the Alaska Farmers Market Association (AFMA) counted 56, with more being planned. According to the 2017 NASS Agricultural Census, Alaska ranked first in the nation in terms of new farms, with the majority of these operations being small, under 10 acres. In addition, Alaska’s direct sales have continued to rise over the last decade. Farmers markets are integral to this growth. More than ever, across the state, market managers and farmers desire connection, networking, training opportunities, and management tools for long-term success.
AFMA, has created the general framework to support statewide farmers market management, training, and promotion, providing direct benefits to Alaska’s farmers markets vendors and customers. In 2020 AFMA received a grant to develop a training toolkit for Alaska Farmers Market Managers and Specialty Crop Vendors. The toolkit provides foundational organizational materials and best practices with the goal of developing more robust, safe, and consistent markets for local food sales. Soliciting the input of market managers and specialty crop vendors in the toolkit design process was a priority. We utilized a needs-based survey to inform the creation of training materials, and performed a nationwide literature review of farmers market resources, which informed toolkit contents. It is our hope that this Toolkit will foster greater food security and sovereignty for Alaskans by building capacity for more sustainable production, direct-to-consumer sales, and distribution of locally grown food.