How to Start a Certified Farmers Market (CFM)
There are five steps to opening a CFM. First you must fit one of three operator types: a government agency, a non-profit organization, or a producer possessing a current certified producer certificate.
SUBMIT COMPLETED MARKET APPLICATION PACKETS AT LEAST TWO WEEKS PRIOR TO YOUR MARKET OPENING
1) Check with the local goverment planning agency regarding permits/zoning
Contact the local government agency responsible for zoning enforcement at your market location(s) and obtain the appropriate permitting or licensing document to ensure compliance with county or city zoning regulations prior to submitting your application. Certified Farmers Market certificates will not be issued for locations without proof that zoning and licensing requirements have been met.
2) CFM Application
Submit application online at the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). Please be sure to click on the "Application for Certified Farmers' Market Certificate". This website includes the online application for a Certified Farmers' Market and the Certified Farmers' Market Remittance Form.
3) Operator type requirement
Only three types of entities can operate a market: a government agency, a non-profit organization, or a producer possessing a certified producer certificate.
- Non-profit organizations must submit a current Letter of Exemption from the Franchise Tax Board, or Articles of Incorporation certified by the Secretary of State.
- Certified producers must submit their current Certified Producers Certifiate (CPC). If the CPC expires during the course of the market's operation, it is the obligation of the certified producer to renew and submit a current CPC to the San Mateo County Agricultural Commissioner's Office. If you do not own the production site, be prepared to present a notarized copy of your lease agreement. You will be asked to provide proof of sales and describe how you are practicing the agricultural arts.
Submit a map showing the surrounding area (with street names) and a market layout showing the non-certified and certified sections, as well as how many certified and non-certified vendors are expected to participate. please keep in mind that under FAC § 47004 the operator of a CFM shall establish a CLEARLY defined marketing area where only agricultural products may be sold. Inspectors should be able to tell where the certified area ends and the non-certified area begins.
5) Authorization letter from property owner
Authorization letter from property owner granting permission to hold certified farmers' market at the market location. If the letter of authorization expires during the course of the market's operation, it is the obligation of the market association to provide the San Mateo County Agricultural Commissioner's Office with a new letter.
ONCE YOU RECEIVE YOUR CFM CERTIFICATE, PLEASE GO TO ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH DEPARTMENT FOR YOUR PERMIT(S) WITH THEM.