JOIN THE MELBOURNE FARMERS’ MARKET COMMUNITY!
Melbourne Farmers Markets connect our urban communities direct with Victorian farmers and producers. We are dedicated to facilitating a resilient local food system and supporting primary producers is at the core of our business.
We encourage prospective stallholders to thoroughly review each step of the application process and criteria to self-assess your suitability before submitting an application form.
STEP 1: OUR CRITERIA – DO YOU MEET IT?
Very simply, our farmers’ markets are for Victorian farmers to sell direct to their customers. Specialty makers (i.e. people who value add primary produce) are expected to support Victorian farmers by directly sourcing their ingredients.
Our farmers’ markets are all accredited by the Victorian Farmers’ Markets Association (VFMA). We do not permit wholesalers or resellers to trade at our markets. Part of our stallholder criteria includes VFMA accreditation.
Are you already accredited with the VFMA? Yes? Great! No? Find out how to become an accredited member of the VFMA.
Melbourne Farmers Markets (MFM) accepts applications from producers that are yet to be accredited with the VFMA; however, we strongly recommend that producers begin the accreditation process whilst applying for our markets. To secure a regular stall at MFM markets, the producer must gain accreditation before the end of the three-market trial period.
New to the industry & need advice?
As we get inundated with stallholder enquiries, we ask you read through the complete application process and criteria first to see if you are eligible to have a stall at our markets. If you are starting from scratch in the farmers’ market industry, are unsure if your product is suitable for farmers’ markets, or simply need some advice please contact the MFM office before completing an application.
Attention Specialty Makers:
When responding to enquiries, we prioritise primary producers before attending to specialty maker requests or applications. This is because we are, first and foremost, farmers’ markets. Specialty makers are asked to have VFMA membership, and be on the way to gaining their accreditation, when they apply to attend our markets.
If we receive a speciality maker application with no evidence of directly sourcing primary ingredients from Victorian farmers or no demonstrated efforts to do this, you may not hear from us for some time while we respond to applications meeting our criteria.
We do not accept merchandise, books, craft, art or bric-a-brac stalls. No exceptions.
Community organisations interested in attending our markets do not require VFMA accreditation and have a separate application form available in Step 5. Nevertheless, we strongly suggest reading through our complete application process to ensure your community organisation is aligned with the values of MFM.
STEP 2: WHAT’S INVOLVED? LOGISTICS, START UP COSTS, FEES, PERMITS
Generally, each stall site is approximately 3 x 3m with allowance for one vehicle at the location of the stall. However, every market location varies so please be aware that vehicle access may sometimes be restricted and any discrepancies with stall sites will be discussed and pre-arranged prior to market day. Requests for additional space or vehicles must be approved by Melbourne Farmers Markets (MFM) prior to market day.
Stallholders are required to bring their own marquee and stall set-up equipment, such as trestle tables, chairs, displays etc.
Powered sites are limited at market locations, which will determine where stallholders requiring power will need to be sited within the market layout. Stallholders are required to bring their own leads (+ spares) to plug into power. Please notify MFM if you can operate your stall without power, as there may be times when we are at capacity and unable to offer a powered site.
Here is a list of things to consider when becoming a stallholder at MFM including costs and permits:
- Running a Market Stall in Victoria guide by the State Government of Victoria, Department of Health and Human Services.
- Public Liability Insurance: minimum amount to be insured is $10 million. Primary producers are often able to include public liability insurance onto existing Farm Insurance Policies.
- Streatrader Registration: must be obtained by all food /produce stalls prior to trading at MFM markets (excludes non-food items such as flowers & plants, dog food, beeswax candles). Streatrader registrations are made through your local council. Most councils in Victoria charge a registration fee. These registration fees vary from council to council and are charged depending on the risk classification of your premises, whether you are a business or a community group and the number or type of premises you manage. For more details regarding Streatrader or your fees, please contact your local council.
- Statement of Trade: must be completed via Streatrader for each market date and location to be attended, once an arrangement has been made with MFM.
- Meat Producers: who wish to sell fresh meat at an MFM farmers’ market are required to have a PrimeSafe license, as well as a Streatrader registration with the farmers’ market’s local Council.
- Biodynamic and organic labelling can only appear on signage and packaging if the product is certified with a recognised body within Australia.
- Egg producers must have a current free range certification with an accredited Australian body.
- Market equipment: stallholders are required to bring all their own equipment such as 3x3m marquee, marquee weights, table, display set ups and cash tin and float. VFMA members regularly have access to discounts for marquee providers.
- VFMA accreditation application: costs involved include a $55 annual membership plus an initial accreditation application fee of $30.
- MFM stall fee per market site paid online prior to market day: fees vary across markets, call us (9419 0826) for further information. Our stall fees are inclusive of $10 levy collected on behalf of the VFMA. View VFMA levy benefit.
STEP 3: OUR EXPECTATIONS
Our stallholders are committed, are you?
Our markets operate all year round; rain, hail or shine.
Early morning starts are usual and regional stallholders may have a very early morning start when accounting for travel time. Most markets require arrival for set up no later than 7:30am, ready to trade by 7:45am with the farmers’ market start time of 8am (there are often early bird shoppers!).
Stallholders are expected to have a strong commitment to the market they are attending and respect the market community of producers and makers. Failing to attend the markets without notification or giving sufficient time for Melbourne Farmers Markets (MFM) to find a replacement directly affects the integrity of the market, as gaps in the market place, both in layout and produce availability, does not fare well with customers’ commitment to return to the market.
Representing your business
Transparency is key in our markets and customers love the opportunity to speak directly with farmers and producers to find out more about their food.
Are you/your staff prepared and capable of answering all kinds of questions about your products, many times over?
If, for any reason, you are not able to operate your stall on market day, think about how your staff are representing your business. Do they have an intimate knowledge of the product to answer any questions asked by potential customers? Will they be engaging with customers and maximising potential sales for your business?
Think about how your (or your staff’s) body language will have an influence on shoppers. Stallholders who engage with customers using eye contact, a friendly smile and open, approachable body language (no crossed arms!) are more likely to leave a positive impression in a shopper’s mind: they’re more likely to return to your stall if they’ve had a positive exchange with you.
Will you have clear, informative signage or printed material for shoppers to take?
Achieving a Healthy Market Balance
MFM work hard to achieve a healthy mix of stalls in each of our marketplaces. It is a fine balance of creating a marketplace that offers a viable opportunity for all stalls attending and providing choice for customers.
We understand the different selling potential of products, such as weekly perishables (vegetables) versus non-perishable pantry items (olive oil).
We closely monitor our markets’ existing product range and when signals such as customer demand, feedback and site availability become apparent, MFM will look at offering a suitable stallholder a market trial period that addresses the void.
Seasonal produce and products not commonly found in the markets (i.e. quinces, passionfruit, peonies) are often easier to allocate a site compared to the farmers’ market staples (i.e. eggs, bread, cheese, meat)
If we are unable to accommodate new stallholders with an immediate site, we have a waiting list for the next suitable opportunity.
Business Diversification and Evolution
What are your business objectives when attending farmers’ markets? Farmers’ market audiences can be fickle, affected by weather, sports events and holidays. Depending on your market offering, it may also take longer than expected to establish a regular customer base. Consequently, market income can vary greatly.
Are you planning on diversifying your sales through online shopping, retailers, farm-gate, box schemes etc? Will you rely solely on this avenue of sales, and if so, for how long? Consider if the ‘novelty factor’ might apply to your product – if so, how will you combat this in due course? Have you considered selling through a retailer in the market vicinity?
Are cash sales the only form of payment you will accept on market day? Most market shoppers will limit their spending to a certain amount, especially when using cash. Offering payment alternatives to cash, such as a mobile EFTPOS can assist with this, as can offering a pre-ordering system. MFM recommend Open Food Network as a pre-order and selling platform for our stallholders, and Square readers to accept debit and credit card payments.
STEP 4: MARKET DAY REGULATIONS, ATTENDANCE POLICY & CODE OF CONDUCT
Melbourne Farmers Markets (MFM) endeavour to create a welcoming, fair and safe market community for everyone. Please read carefully through our regulations to understand our expectations of stallholders attending MFM markets:
Code of Conduct:
Melbourne Farmers Markets welcomes stallholders’ input and is open to fair and direct feedback, however we will not tolerate confrontational or aggressive behaviour towards any staff, volunteers or shoppers. Inappropriate behaviour will result in warnings and potential removal from the market.
Similarly, those stallholders who ignore the rules of accreditation, labelling or agreements made regarding goods for sale will jeopardize their position at our farmers’ markets.
If you have concerns on a market day about operations, your site or another stallholder, please tell the market manager in a reasonable manner. If this situation cannot be resolved during the market, and you wish to pursue it further, your complaint must be formalised with written submission to the MFM office within seven days.
If a stallholder is found to be in breach of our regulations or code of conduct, MFM will review their participation at all our farmers’ markets and suspend further attendance if deemed appropriate.
STEP 5: SUBMIT APPLICATION
If you have thoroughly read through all the Stall Enquiry information and are satisfied that you would like to apply to our farmers’ markets, we welcome you to complete our application form.
Primary producers and specialty makers complete the same form however certain sections may or may not be applicable. The more detailed and informative your application, the better!
Interested community groups, organisations and one-off businesses interested in having an information stall, please scroll down to find the separate application form.
COMMUNITY GROUPS, ORGANISATIONS & BUSINESSES APPLICATION FORM
Melbourne Farmers Markets welcome the attendance of community groups and organisations at our farmers’ markets.
Please note that our accredited farmers’ markets are first and foremost about supporting Victorian food producers, therefore community stalls are not permitted to sell any merchandise.
We allow for a maximum of two community stalls at each of our markets.
To be considered for a stall or presence at our markets, please complete the form below.
As we are a small team, please complete the form with as much information as possible and allow at least 2-3 weeks for us to process your enquiry. If it is clear that the enquiry is only about selling goods and/or services on market day and no connection to the benefit to community, it is unlikely that you will receive a response.
Please note that our accredited farmers’ markets are first and foremost about supporting Victorian food producers therefore community stalls are not permitted to sell any merchandise.
We allow for a maximum of two community stalls at each of our markets so please specify what market/s and date/s would be preferable and we will check the availability.
STEP 6: REVIEW PROCESS
After you have submitted your application Melbourne Farmers Markets (MFM) and endeavor to notify you within two to three weeks. We may contact you for further information during this time, so please ensure you have provided reliable phone and email contact details.
Please do not make your plans to attend an MFM market until your position is confirmed. If our existing markets are full, applications will go onto a waiting list for the next available opportunity, and you will be notified. Please note that many of our existing market sites are at capacity and we cannot allocate any more stallholders to them, even if there is a product gap that your stall could fill.
Please ensure you have listed all dates you are available to attend a market on your application, not just your preferred dates. The more flexible you are, the more likely we can assign you to a market.
If you are accepted as an MFM stallholder and we have position in one of our farmers’ markets, you will be offered a trial period, generally three attendances at a specific market, with the expectation this will transition into a permanent position at the market.