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FAQs

How do I get selling space in your markets?

Complete information about becoming a vendor is under the "Vendors" tab at the top of this page.  Click to see the drop-down menu and choose "Become a Vendor" to view the information.  Our seven markets allow local farmers and food only (no crafts).  We set our market schedules in the early spring, with well over 100 local farmers and about 70 artisan food vendors across our seven markets.  We receive inquiries from hundreds of food vendors every year.  For information about other markets in Seattle, King County, and WA state, you can visit the WA State Farmers Market Coalition website.

I want to contact a farmer to place a special order, how do I do that?

View information here.

Do the markets allow buskers?

We do have a limited number of rotating spots for buskers at most markets, on a first-come, first-served basis.  Buskers must check in at the Market Manager booth to be given a spot, and must follow all directions given by market staff regarding volume, location and time limits.  Buskers who are disrespectful of our mission, purpose and logistics, or who play music that is not a good fit for the market, will be declined.  All buskers who are given space must sign the market agreement form and pay a $15 annual fee.

Can I buy gift certificates to the farmers markets?

Yes!  The perfect gift for newlyweds, house-warming, anniversaries, birthdays and the holidays! Sold in any amount (in $5 increments) at all of our market info booths, or buy online here.

Why are there only 7 Seattle markets listed on your website?

The Neighborhood Farmers Markets is a 501(c)3 non-profit supporting Washington State farmers and serving Seattle neighborhoods since 1993.  Our seven farm/food-only markets are: Capitol Hill (formerly Broadway), University District, West Seattle, Columbia City, Lake City, Phinney, and Magnolia.

In Seattle, there are approximately 15 markets of various kinds, founded and operated by a variety of entities or organizations. Different market organizers may have different goals, for e.g., some markets include local crafts or flea markets, while others choose to allow farms and food only. In some cities, farmers markets are run by local municipalities.

In the City of Seattle, in order for a market to qualify as a true "farmers market" (thus being eligible for lower SDOT street-use and other fees), the vendor base must be comprised of at least 51% Washington State farmers and fishers selling their own products directly to the public. Foods Included in this category are wild-caught fish, Puget Sound shellfish, wild foraged products, eggs, cheeses, poultry, meats, ciders, wines, plant starts and cut flowers, and of course fruits and vegetables.  

The Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance was initially founded by a small group of volunteers with the goal of creating a farmers market (the University District Farmers Market in 1993) for the primary purpose of supporting local family farms, and connecting urban residents with locally-produced food. Early meetings with interested farmers suggested that keeping the market focused on farms and local food was vital to the preservation of local, sustainable agriculture. As the market strengthened and grew, we worked with neighborhood stakeholders, landlords, the Health Dept, the Office of Economic Development and numerous other City and neighborhood entities to establish additional farmer/food-only markets in other neighborhoods. Today, we organize seven farmers markets supporting over 100 local family farms, and we have also worked hard to increase food access to neighborhoods and folks in need, instigating food access programs such as Fresh Bucks, and donating thousands of pounds of food to area food banks.  (Your tax-deductible donations to the NFM support our emergency relief fund for local farms as well as our outreach, education and food accessibility programs!)

For information about other markets in Seattle, Puget Sound and Washington State, please visit the Washington State Farmers Market Association website.

Are all the farmers Certified Organic?

Many, but not all the farmers who sell in our markets are Certified Organic. Some prefer other certifications such as Salmon Safe or Certified Naturally Grown; or, they may adhere to chemical-free and other environmentally-friendly practices but choose not to have a third party certification. And, some of our farmers do use some non-Organic chemicals in their farming. All our market farmers are WA family farmers, who sell at farmers markets because they are proud of the fruits of their labors, and because they enjoy fostering relationships directly with their customers.  This is one of the advantages of buying directly from farmers at farmers markets - the ability to actually talk to the people who grow your food.  Shoppers are encouraged to ask questions and get to know the farms they buy from.)  You can also learn more about food labels and ecolabels at AGreenerWorld.org, and CUESA.

What is the Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance and what does it do?

See About Us

Which markets are open year round?

University District (Saturdays 9-2), Capitol Hill (Sundays 11-3), West Seattle (Sundays 10-2)

How do I use my EBT card (SNAP/food stamps) at the farmers markets?

See Food Access

How do I use my WIC or Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program checks at the farmers markets?

See Food Access

Why farmers markets?

To meet the folks who grow your food, to connect with the land around us, to eat the freshest food in season, to support sustainable farming, to experience a larger variety of foods, to support our local economy!

WSFMA Membership

Why don't you have crafts or other products in these farmers markets?

We have chosen to make supporting local agriculture our mission.  

Can I use my credit card at the markets?

Many of our farmers and vendors do accept credit cards, but not all. Bringing cash to a farmers market is always a good idea.

Are pets allowed at these farmers markets?

The King County Health Department allows pets at farmers markets.  (In some states, such as California and Oregon, pets are not allowed at farmers markets.)  Because our markets are walking destinations and leisurely outings for many shoppers, and are located mostly in permitted public right-of-ways, we allow dogs at all of our markets.  We ask dog owners to please be considerate of other shoppers, respectful of vendors and food products, and to follow common sense rules about good behavior.  Dogs that misbehave will be required to leave the market.  

If you notice a specific problem or incident occurring at any of our markets, please immediately let our staff know (at the market manager tent) so that we can address the issue in a timely manner.  

I want to start a farmers market, or get advice about expanding my farmers market. Where can I find resources for market managers?

The following websites have lots of information and resources for market organizers:

Washington State Farmers Market Association website and Market Manager Toolkit

National Farmers Market Coalition

WSDA Farmers Market Manual

USDA - Farmers Markets and Local Food Marketing

EBT/SNAP at Farmers Markets

WIC and Senior FMNP at Farmers Markets

MRSC (Municipal Research and Services Center of WA > Farmers Markets, Public Markets)

WA Secretary of State

What is the date of this year's Incredible Feast?

Our 2019 'Feast will be Sunday, September 22.

I'm a student or teacher looking for information.  Where can I find links or resources?

Here are some helpful links, in addition to the information you'll find by looking through our website.  (Students: please also click here for tips on how to contact professional organizations with your questions.)

Washington Agriculture in the Classroom

Farmers Market Coalition website educational links

CUESA educational information pages

WSU Small Farms Team website

WA Grown TV

We want to host a farmers market at our company (or school, or special event).  How do we recruit farmers and food vendors to attend?

Local, small-scale, family farms, which focus on good land stewardship and biodiversity, are essential components of a healthy environment, thriving local economy, and safe food systems.  Our farmers take pride in the quality and range of fruits, vegetables, cheeses, meats and other items they produce.  For many of these farms, a well-organized, well-attended weekly Farmers Market is their most, if not only, viable sales outlet, in which they can build mutual relationships with customers, and receive fair value for their labor.  It is our mission and purpose as an organization to make sure these farms stay in business, and that local farmland is not lost to development or skyrocketing land-use costs, or subsidized competition from imported or mass-production systems.   We also work hard to make sure as many consumers as possible have access to fresh, local food, through our extensive public education and benefits programs.

Farming is a very labor-intensive vocation.  To ask farmers to take time away from their farms for a one-off weekly market or a single pop-up event, is often not a very feasible request.  The profit they might make would usually not cover the cost of time, labor and resources to attend such an event, and may be a significant interruption in the demanding flow of work: planting, weeding, tending, pruning, harvesting, birthing animals, monitoring fields and pasture animals, and preparing for regular weekly Farmers Markets.  This is not to say that there aren’t some food vendors and even some farmers for whom a one-time event or a smaller, one-off market might be doable, but we ask organizers of such events to think carefully about what they are asking of prospective attendees, and what benefits they are offering, especially as it relates to supporting and sustaining local agriculture.

Can I have a bake sale at the farmers market?

Our farmers markets have been established to support local farms, as well as a number of local food artisans (who also source a percentage of their ingredients from local farms).  We have a rigorous screening and application process that all farmers and food vendors must go through in order to be permitted selling space, and all vendors must carry permits from the Health Dept, WSDA and other monitoring agencies as applicable.  All of our vendors also have product liability insurance, businesses licenses, pay their employees, and are deeply invested in the success and sustainability of their farms and businesses.  For these reasons, it is not feasible for us to allow any other types of selling, marketing or fundraising in the markets.  (However, market sponsors are given space for promotions, as appropriate, in exchange for their direct support of our mission and programs.  If you are interested in becoming a sponsor, please contact our office.)

What is the Helping Harvest Voucher Program?

Helping Harvest Vouchers give food bank clients and other resource-challenged people the opportunity to increase the quality, variety and nutritional value of food they eat, while at the same time benefiting local farmers who bring their fresh, healthy, seasonal produce to city farmers markets.  If your service organization, charity or food bank is interested in providing Helping Harvest vouchers to your communities or clients, the NFM would be glad to work with you.  The process and logistics for making it happen are very simple; the main thing is simply to determine your budget and how many vouchers you would like to distribute.

History of the program: Back in the early years of the University District Farmers Market, the staff at the UD Food Bank came up with a brilliant and easy-to-operate idea that would give a little back to the market farmers (who were generously donating fresh, healthy produce to the food bank), and would also help their food bank clients get access to more quality food.  They created the “Helping Harvest” voucher program, in which food bank clients are given vouchers to spend like cash at the farmers market to purchase healthy food.  The UD Food Bank has secured grant funding for this program every year since then, distributing thousands of vouchers to their clients, and over the years other food banks in Seattle have established their own voucher programs with the NFM markets.