Natchitoches Farmers Market Handbook
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The mission of the Natchitoches Farmers Market (NFM) is to provide a viable, community based market for the sale of locally grown agricultural products, to encourage gardening, farming and production of agricultural goods by and for the community and to provide education on proper diet, exercise and nutrition.
The Natchitoches Farmers Market is funded by the City of Natchitoches and is supplemented with grant funds. The NFM falls under Community Programs, a division of the Community Development Department. The Natchitoches Farmers Market Coordinator oversees the market and serves as the onsite contact person on market days. The Farmers Market Assistant Coordinator is available to help with set up, runs Kids Club and collects fees on market days.

A. Definition of Vendor: All products sold must be grown, produced or handcrafted by the vendor.  “Vendor” shall be defined as the producer of the goods sold and shall include the spouse, siblings, children, parents and employees of the vendor who assist in the cultivation or assembly of the product. The resale of items purchased by the vendor shall not be permitted. All approved vendors are required to apply and be approved by the Natchitoches Farmers Market. Local produce shall be grown within a 200 mile radius. A site inspection is required for all new growers accepted into the market. Random inspections throughout the year will be conducted by market staff to insure compliance.

B. Application/Selection Process: Any person interested in becoming a vendor for the market shall complete an application and submit it to the market office. Applications can be obtained on the website or by calling the office. All vendors are required to complete an application yearly. All growers are subject to a site visit and all other vendors must submit pictures or samples with their application. Applications submitted after the deadline will only be considered if the vendor is a grower, has products that are not currently represented at the market, or has been a previously approved vendor at the Natchitoches Farmers Market. All applicants will be notified of their acceptance by April 7th, 2018. The market will accept vendors and assign spaces with 40% for growers of agricultural products, 30% for value-added vendors and 30% for vendors with handcrafted items.

C. Permitted Items for Sale: Items allowed for sale shall include raw vegetables and fruits, edible plants, shelled peas and beans, bagged vegetables, seafood, eggs, honey,  nuts, garlic, spices, grains, herbs, bedding plants; value-added items such as native wines, herbal vinegars, fruit syrups, jellies, jams, pickles and preserves, baked goods, cheeses, meats, etc. and handcrafted items such as woodwork, stained glass, artwork of all mediums, jewelry, soaps and other approved craft items. All items must meet local, state and federal guidelines including heath regulations. Vendors may only sell pre-approved items listed on the market application.  Any changes to listed items must be approved by market staff and cannot be made day of market.

D. Market Dates: The Natchitoches Farmers Market is a seasonal market and operates Saturdays from late April through the end of July and in the Fall from mid October to mid November on Front street in Downtown Natchitoches. Market hours are from 8 a.m.-12 p.m., rain or shine. The market will only close if there are severe weather conditions.  The decision to close the market due to severe weather will be made by the Market Coordinator on the day of the market.

E. Vendor Fees: All approved applicants who sell goods in the market are required to pay for the space they use.  Vendor fees are collected during the Saturday market.  Vendor fees will be collected as follows:
  $15 per market when attending 1 through 5 markets
$10 per market when attending 6 through 10 markets
$5 per market when attending 10 or more markets
For example, if a vendor attends only 7 market Saturdays, that vendor will pay $15 each Saturday for the first 5 Saturdays and then $10 for the remaining 2 Saturdays that they attend. If a vendor attends more than 10 market Saturdays, that vendor will pay $15 for the first 5 Saturdays, $10 for the next 5 Saturdays, and $5 for any additional Saturdays that they attend. Market staff will be responsible for recording the number of markets each vendor has attended to ensure proper vendor fee collection by having each vendor sign-in on a sign-in sheet when vendor fees are collected. Vender spaces are assigned. All vendors are encouraged to provide their own tents that must be secured with weights for safety reasons.  Each space shall not exceed 10’ x 10’ unless pre-approved by the Natchitoches Farmers Market.

F. Selling Guidelines:  All market vendors must display signage indicating their business name and where the products are from or grown. Prices for all items must be visible to customers via signs or prices tags. For items sold by weight, calibrated scales must be used. All FMNP participants must display the signs given to them by the Department of Agriculture. Samples of products are allowed and encouraged. Smoking and consumption of alcohol is not allowed by market vendors within the market area. Vendors are required to charge and remit local and state sales tax when applicable.

G. Arrival and Departure:  Market hours are 8 a.m.-12 p.m. There will be no selling before the market’s 8 a.m. opening. Setup for the market may begin no earlier than 6:30 a.m. on Saturdays. Vendors must unload and load as quickly as possible and remove vehicles from the market area. Please unload all items before you begin booth set up to avoid vehicle congestion. Vendors are required to be in their assigned space no later than 8 a.m.  Selling shall occur only during market hours. A vendor is not permitted to leave before the 12 p.m. close of the market. Vendors leaving before closing time without Natchitoches Farmers Market approval may result in expulsion for the duration of the market. The market bell will ring noting the opening and closing of the market. Vendors are required to park in designated areas. To leave parking for patrons, venders must not park on Front Street or side streets. Venders can park on Second Street.

H. Clean Up:  All vendors shall clean up their area at the end of each market.  All vendors shall load their vehicles and be clear of Front Street by 1:00 p.m.  Vendors shall be responsible for the cleanliness of their selling areas.  Vendors shall not use the public trash receptacles for disposal of produce boxes or unsold produce.

I. Vendor/Customer Conflict:  Any conflict or potential conflict, which may arise between a vendor and a customer must be brought to the attention of the Market Coordinator for resolution, and should further action need to be taken, to the Community Development Office for resolution.

J. Kid Vendors:  Children under the age of 16 years old may be permitted to sell at the market as a “Kid Vendor”.  Kid Vendors must be approved prior to market through the application process.  All market rules apply.  The vendor fee for approved Kid Vendors is $3.00 per market.  All children are to have adult supervision at all times.  Children are required to stay at their booths at all times.

K. Non-profit Organizations:  Non-profit organizations with missions related to farming, gardening, conservation, education, youth and nutrition are invited to participate in the market. Applications must be made in advance and market rules must be followed.  Organizations are allowed one market day per season for fundraising opportunities. Market days must be approved by the Natchitoches Farmers Market.  All rules and fees apply unless otherwise ruled by NFM. The fee for these organizations may be waived at the discretion of the Natchitoches Farmers Market.

L. Guest Vendors:  Vendors may be given permission to participate in the market as guests for special events or some other limited purpose. Guest Vendor participation must be approved by the Natchitoches Farmers Market prior to participation in the market. Guest vendors may be exempted from fees if approved by the Natchitoches Farmers Market.

M. NFM as a Vendor:  The Natchitoches Farmers Market reserves the right to sell items for benefit of the Market.

N. Market Staff:  The Natchitoches Farmers Market employs a full time market coordinator and a part time seasonal market assistant. The Natchitoches Farmers Market is a project of the City of Natchitoches and is managed by, Community Programs, a division of  the Community and Development office.

O. Hold Harmless Clause/Insurance:  Each vendor is responsible for carrying his/her own product liability insurance. All vendors agree to hold harmless the Natchitoches Farmers Market and the City of Natchitoches for any loss, cost of damages or other expenses incurred in accidents or incidents at the market.

P. Sole Discretion: The Natchitoches Farmers Market reserves the right to make any and all decisions in the best interest of the market.

Q. Token System:  The Natchitoches Farmers Market utilizes a token system for Kids Club, acceptance of food stamps (EBT/SNAP), credit cards (Visa, Mastercard Discover) and debit cards.  All vendors are required to accept all forms of market tokens.  Children ages 2-13 received $5 in tokens; the tokens are green and are stamped with “Kids Club.” Kids Club tokens can only be used to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables. Shoppers that purchase market tokens with a food stamp EBT (SNAP) card will receive black $1 tokens.  Black tokens can only be used to purchase EBT eligible food items such as bread products, produce, meat, seafood, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy products, seeds, plants which produce food to eat and cold prepared foods not intended for immediate consumption.  All vendors with eligible products must accept SNAP tokens. Violations of this policy is strictly prohibited and any violation could result in disciplinary actions.  Shoppers that purchase market tokens with a credit or debit card will be issued green $1 tokens.  Green tokens may be used to purchase any item at the market.

R. Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) Participation: All farmers participating in the Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) must prominently display their Louisiana FMNP signs at their booths. Certified farmers may not redeem coupons accepted by unauthorized vendors. Under no circumstance may coupons be exchanged for cash, and no cash change may be returned to coupon shoppers. Violations of this policy may result in expulsion from the Natchitoches Farmers Market.

A. Complaints:  Any complaint against any vendor regarding the origination of their produce or goods, or any other market matter, must be submitted by completing a “Vendor Concern Form”. These forms can be obtained from the market tent, on the market website or by contacting the market office and should be returned to the market staff by mail, email or by hand delivery. Resolution of complaint matters shall be the responsibility of the Market Coordinator and the Community Development Department. Together they shall determine, in their sole discretion, what type of investigation, if any, shall be conducted in response to written complaints; whether or not the written complaint is valid and appropriate and the time frame in which such a response shall be made.

B. Complaint resolution:  A vendor may receive citations for violating market rules or any provision that under minds the operation of the market. Citations are issued in the following manner:
1st violation - Vendor receives verbal warning
2nd violation - Vendor receives written warning
3rd violation - Vendor can stay for that market day but will no longer be eligible to participate in the Natchitoches Farmers Market for the remainder of the season.

The Natchitoches Farmers Market Advisory Board consists of no more than ten people representing both Farmers Market customers and vendors. The panel also includes members from the community involved in regional farming practices, traditional local food-ways, artisan organizations, community services and other relevant topics to the Natchitoches Farmers Market. The board acts in an advisory capacity to the Natchitoches Farmers Market staff on policy matters relating to the market. The board will meet semi-annually throughout the year. Special meetings may be called to address important matters. Board members are appointed by the Natchitoches Farmers Market Coordinator and serve a two year term that may be renewed. The advisory board may also be asked to serve on the vendor jury committee, recommend programming for the market and assist in vendor recruitment. The board is also asked to continually advocate and support the mission of the Natchitoches Farmers Market.
I have read and understand all Natchitoches Farmers’ Market rules and regulations.  I will abide by all rules and understand that failure to abide by these rules may result in my expulsion from the Natchitoches Farmers’ Market.
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