The Association was formed in 2008 following a survey comissioned by Produced in Kent and carried out by the Kent Business School.This highlighted the value that Farmers' Markets had on the local econommy but also recognised that many of the small rural markets lacked resources to improve and many market managers would benefit from a more cooperative way of working.
Over the last two years, a few markets have closed, many more have now opened, some have even re-opened and we are currently working with other prospective markets that may begin operating this year.
Almost all the markets in Kent are run by volunteers. Prior to setting up the Association, Managers had few places to turn for help and guidance, and typically being small, and with limited funds, markets found it difficult to promote themselves, or the concept of Farmers' Markets, to a wider shopping public. A key objective of the Association was to try to work together to resolve these problems and we have now brought together some of our experiences (and lessons learnt !) in this website. We want to continually improve, and for example, work with specialists in this area such as making 'Local Food Work' (the Plunkett Organisation) and other professionals in the field of retailing. We would also welcome any comments and suggestions from you the reader, and do please get in touch with any contributions you may have to improve on what we do and this website generally.
We recognise that there are likely to be different categories of users of the web site, so we have divided 'How can we help' into the following areas:
Markets - Here we have included information on how you might go about setting up a Farmers Market, your legal obligations, and ideas for improving existing markets. There are forms to download, example plans, even a Job Description etc, and these are there for managers to use and amend to suit your Market.
Stallholders - This is aimed at new stallholders and offers help and guidance that could improve the your potential if you are an existing stallholder.
Customers - This section concentrates on helping customers to find their way around this web site as well as general Farmers' Market information
News and media - We have incorporated background information here about the Association and we will be including a gallery of pictures in the near future, for members or market managers to use