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Purchasing Regional Products at Farmers' Markets

This strategy relies on farmers' markets for purchasing locally grown products. In this scenario, the food service staff contacts the farmer one or two days in advance of the farmers' market, placing their order by fax or phone. The farmer then brings that order to the farmers' market, in addition to what he or she plans to sell that day through the market.

In most cases, schools use their own truck and driver, and a buyer from the school or district goes to the local farmers' market to pick up the preordered product.

  • Buying directly from a farmer at a farmers' market has the advantage of working face-to-face with growers who know their competition is at the market as well.
  • It gives food service staff the opportunity to inspect the product quality and see first-hand what other products are available.
  • Farmers benefit from this arrangement since they can make two farm deliveries in one location - one to the farmers' market and one to the school.
  • This can help to lower the price for the product, as only one trip is needed for both deliveries. However, buying at farmers’ markets can also be time consuming, as this kind of shopping involves much more labor than a phone call to a distributor.

Adapted from Distribution Models for Farm to School, Written by Marion Kalb and Sarah Borrron, Community Food Security Coalition


Last Updated: 7/11/2013