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< Draft constitution for a Farmers Market

Draft constitution for a Farmers Market

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The way that Farmers Markets in Kent are organised is quite varied. This mainly reflects how they might have been started up in the first place; typically they could be a sub-committeee of the Parish Council, or the Church, or Village Hall, and some markets in Kent are run by the local council itself. We get asked regularly about what the constitution of a farmers market should look like, and this might be important if you are considering applying for funding, so over the next year we will be working with the Plunkett Foundation on what an 'ideal' constition might look like, as part of a more comprehensive 'tool-kit' for managers.

In the meantime, our colleagues in Wye FM have kindly agreed that we can use their 'Rules of Association' as an example for others to look at and if you would like to use it to help with drawing one up for yourself, highlight it and copy to a MS word document.


1) The name of this formally constituted community group and association is ...... Farmers' Market

2) It aims to operate on not-for-profit principles and considers itself to be a social enterprise. It will be run in a business like fashion, but primarily with social objectives, whose surpluses are principally reinvested to improve its operations, or in the community, to help contribute to creating a strong, sustainable and socially inclusive local economy.

3) The office of the Association will be at ........................................

4) The location of the market will be at ...................................

5) The objectives for which the Association is established are:

  • To give shoppers the opportunity to buy high quality, nutritious, fresh local food and drink which contributes to their well-being, protects their environment and respects animal welfare
  • To assist Kent's farmers and food enterprises to benefit from the fair trade offered by selling directly to the public
  • To help sustain our communities by providing opportunities for them to come together for social contact and to work with other community groups to contribute to other local activities and to promote the markets benefits
  • To strengthen Kent's economy by creating opportunities for local firms to trade with local people
  • To encourage reduction in food miles by more sustainable local food production and consumption
  • To support Kent's tourist industry by creating events and promoting the quality of local food and drink
  • To encourage rural diversification by offering a "route to market' for local produce

6) Membership of the Association is open to residents in ......................., those invited by existing membership to join, and co-opted individuals who subscribe to the aims and objectives described above.

7) A management committee of up to eight will be elected by members for up to two years, to run the market and be responsible for day-to-day operations, including the setting of standards, and pitch fees, all compliance aspects, policy development, and any business development activity, which might include grant submissions to national, regional or local funding bodies. This management board will appoint a Chairman, Vice-Chairman, secretary, treasurer and market manager, to assist them in running the market.

8) Regular committee meetings will be undertaken, with Agendas published at least two weeks in advance, and management reports published regularly.

9) The Association may from time to form sub committees or delegate individuals for the purpose of undertaking specific projects. Also, the Association might be required to undertake projects, funded through grants etc and as a consequence, may need to act as an employing body on a short-term specific basis. All the necessary obligations for good governance will need to be followed and reported back to the management board

10) The Committee may invite, at their discretion, non-members to attend meetings where this is considered to be of benefit to the Association.

11) The Association may, at the discretion of the committee, affiliate to the Kent Association of Farmers' markets or any organisation the committee believes will benefit the market.

12) Financial Arrangements:

  • Stall fees and membership fees will primarily finance the Association. Additional funding could be available from grants, web space advertising and by other means approved by the management board.
  • All relevant insurances will be organised by the Secretary
  • Where projects are undertaken, they could be funded by grants and it may well be that to meet the grant criteria, work needs to be funded by the Association and claimed back retrospectively [in whole or in part] from the funding body. To achieve this, it may on occasions be appropriate for the Association to arrange temporary finance. This needs to be undertaken on a value-for-money basis and all the necessary obligations for good governance will need to be followed and reported back to the management board.
  • The Committee will have power to open a bank account, into which stall fees, subscriptions and other income will be paid. The account will be used to pay for all invoices any other relevant bills.
  • The Financial year will be January to December; policy guidelines are shown at attachment and can be varied by the management committee, but require ratification at the AGM
  • An annual report will be presented at the AGM

13) To improve the general running of the Association, additions or amendments to the constitution may be put forward for discussions and agreement of the management committee. Where these are of a general nature, or relate to working practice, these will usually be accepted if it can be clearly demonstrated that they will bring benefits, but they will need to be reported regularly to all Members for comment and acceptance through newsletters. Where there are potentially significant changes, the management committee can agree approval in principle, but all major changes will need to be confirmed at the AGM to keep the constitution up-to-date.

14) Any proposals for dissolution can be proposed by the management committee or any member, and must be circulated by the Secretary no fewer than 28 days in advance of the AGM meeting, or if appropriate an extraordinary general meeting.

15) If the Association is dissolved the balance of the funds, after payment of all outstanding debts and liabilities (including the return of any unused funding given as grants if this was part of the condition of the grant) shall be disposed of as agreed at the general meeting.

16) An annual general meeting will be undertaken in June each year to review the previous years operations, receive the accounts of the Association, confirm the appointments to the management committee, and be open to all members and the public.

Health & Safety policy
Stallholder and produce policy
Policy on market organisation

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