About the Toolkit

Farmers markets play an important role in building resilient local food systems and vibrant communities. This Toolkit was developed to support farmers markets throughout the U.S. with open-source legal tools to inform market managers as they make decisions to build and grow their markets. The specific topics covered in the Toolkit were selected in response to recurring questions from farmers market managers--about how business structure would affect their organizations, what types of legal risks exist and how to manage them, and how to make their products available and accessible for all community members.


The Center for Agriculture and Food Systems at Vermont Law School (CAFS) partnered with the Farmers Market Coalition (FMC) and the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA-VT) to create this Toolkit. Special thanks to Jen O’Brien Cheek (FMC), Darlene Wolnik (FMC), Erin Buckwalter (NOFA-VT) and Andrew Graham (NOFA-VT) for their extensive contributions to this resource.


This Toolkit was created with support from the United States Department of Agriculture  National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA/NIFA). Additional material in the Toolkit is based upon work supported by the National Agricultural Library, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture.


This Toolkit was created with the combined time and talents of many people. In particular, we would like to recognize:

The Project Team: Wendy Chen, Lihlani Skipper Nelson, and Emily Spiegel (CAFS); Jen O’Brien Cheek and Darlene Wolnik (FMC); Erin Buckwalter and Andrew Graham (NOFA-VT)

The Project Advisory Board: Sophia Kruszewski, Jeffrey O’Hara, Charlotte Roozekrans, Gus Schumacher, and Andrew Knaf

Jamie Renner for his years of leading the project, as well as legal review and content development

Former CAFS Staff: Laurie Ristino, Sarah Danly, Rebecca Valentine, Claire Child, and Delilah Griswold

CAFS Students (in the Food & Agriculture Clinic and Research Assistants): Elizabeth Bootz, Natalie Colao, Kaitlyn Kachmarik, Emily Kenyon, Nico Lustig, Katie Michel, Lauren Moore, Sarah Munger, Carly Orozoco, Michael Pottetti, Gabrielle Regney, Emilie Schwartz, Melissa Shapiro, Alison Uhrlass, Madelyn Vitale, Sera Yoon, and Cameron Briggs Ramos.

Rachel Armstrong at Farm Commons for legal review and content development

Gabe Halberg at Dadra Design for web design & development

Mike Custode for custom, hand-drawn illustrations

Andrea DiMattina for designing additional print resources and the FMLT Resource Companion.

Farmers Market Managers and Leaders who shared their experiences, questions, and perspectives with the project team. Special thanks to the following market representatives who provided input and feedback: Suzanne Briggs, Diane Eggert at the Farmers Market Federation of New York, Sheryl Maher at Brattleboro Farmers Market, Jeff Cole at Mass Farmers Markets, Corey Chatman at Experimental Station, Kevin Thompson at Capital City Farmers Market, Angelina Harrison at Market Umbrella, Eileen Nichols at Webb City Farmers Market, and Mary Yost at Durham Farmers Market

Farmers Market Legal Toolkit