By Emilie Tydings, VAFMA Board Vice President

Saturday morning and your phone rings at 5:30 and the parking lot where you hold your market is flooded. Vendors are not getting along in your market and fighting over food prices. There is a need to grow more customers into the market or vendors will start leaving. Managing the safety of the market on a super busy day.

These are all scenarios familiar to a farmers market manager who is responsible for making many things happen and managing a lot of people. Any one of these scenarios and many others can turn a great market day into a near disaster. Follow these quick tips to lead with success:

  1. Remember to eat, drink, and breath. Nothing can send the day downhill faster than getting too busy to eat. Grabbing some veggies & fruit from your vendors to snack on during the day helps show your support to them and keeps you nourished. Take a deep breath as you walk around your market, have light-hearted conversations with customers or vendors throughout the day and see how much more prepared and relaxed you feel.
  2. Stay positive. Don’t take things personally. Market managers set the tone for their markets, so remember to smile, keep a positive attitude even during stress, and keep moving forward. Vendors & customers alike will feed on your energy and rely on your reactions during times of crisis. Keeping your cool, helps keep them cool.
  3. Be available. Be available to answers customer’s questions during market hours. Be willing to deal with a crisis as soon as it arises rather than letting it brew. Be available for the press by always having a story ready about your market.
  4. Remain fearless. Market managers are often faced with limited budgets and challenging situations that require confidence and poise to see them through. Be willing to advocate for your market and never take no for an answer. Always keep your mission & vision in the forefront and be willing to set the tone for success in your market.

For more in depth look at being a visionary & leader as a market manager, check out this educational resource provided by UC Small Farm Center in Davis, CA: