Who We Are
The Farmers’ Markets of Nova Scotia Cooperative is a movement by markets for markets, seeding growth and prosperity for farmers’ markets and their communities.
Our not-for-profit cooperative is made up of more than 20 farmers’ markets. Together, we’re working to create a dynamic farmers’ market sector cultivating healthy local economies, communities, and people across Nova Scotia.
Since 2004, our cooperative has been building support and fostering success for farmers’ markets in Nova Scotia, as well as providing training and assistance to our member markets.
A cooperative of farmers’ markets, we are a team, working collaboratively, benefiting from shared resources, research, and collective expertise.
Together, we are stronger, resulting in greater success for our member markets. Between 2014 and 2016, 16 of Nova Scotia’s farmers’ markets closed permanently. Just three of the sixteen lost markets were members of the Farmers’ Markets of Nova Scotia Cooperative.
With the support of our cooperative, our members continue to reach formidable milestones. Within the last three years, two of our member markets have transitioned to year-round operation, three have established licensed kitchens, one has built a permanent market building and two others are now posed to do the same in coming year. Two of our members have established artist cooperatives while three others have developed market stores. One of our members, working in partnership with our cooperative, piloted a food security program serving low-income members of the community – the first of its kind east of British Columbia. Our members have also forged partnerships with local government, expanded to multiple days per week, established food skills programming and continue to prototype new, innovative ideas and offerings for vendors, customers and community.
By becoming a member of the Farmers’ Markets of Nova Scotia Cooperative, you join a team of local markets working collaboratively to create a dynamic and thriving farmers’ markets sector in their communities and across Nova Scotia. Bringing together Market Managers, Board Members and Volunteer Organizers, as well as active vendors, our cooperative is first and foremost a supportive network of dedicated people. Get the help you need to grow your farmers’ market, promote your market to your community, revitalize a market currently experiencing challenges, or establish a new farmers’ market in your community.
Benefits Of Membership
Our members have access to a broad range of tangible, invaluable benefits from market management tools and training to marketing assistance, insurance discounts and NSLC partnership. We’ve outlined many of our member benefits below.
Membership means access to direct support and expertise as well as customized tools, templates and resources, and on-going professional development to help you with every aspect of farmers’ market management, including:
- Starting a new market
- Recruiting, managing and supporting vendors
- Training and on-going professional development for Market Managers
- Farmers’ market fundraising, budget creation and revenue stream development
- Developing partnerships with local government and surrounding businesses.
Joining the Farmers’ Markets of Nova Scotia Cooperative means becoming part of a team, working collaboratively to benefit from shared resources, research, and collective expertise, and embracing the adage “a rising tide raises all boats”. Networking opportunities include:
- Our private online network of Market Managers using Facebook to share news and ideas, ask questions and seek help, suggest solutions and best practices.
- Our on-going professional development program for Market Managers and Organizers.
- Shaping the coming year of the cooperative and meeting fellow Market Managers and Board Members at our Annual General Meeting each spring.
- Engaging with new and existing vendors in our online matchmaker forum.
Our cooperative actively promotes member markets and their vendors at the provincial level while also directly assisting member markets in promoting themselves:
- Social Media Marketing training – an email-based program with support
- Assistance with media relations
- Annual presence at Saltscapes East Coast Expo and Trade Show
- Our online farmers’ market finder
- Annual development of and promotion in the provincial farmers’ market print guide with 15,000 copies distributed across the province including Visitor Information Centres
- Active and effective promotion of member markets to our extensive social media network (14.6K followers)
- Displaying the Farmers’ Markets of Nova Scotia Cooperative member badge at your market and on your website – our recognized brand identifying our member markets as establishments committed to safe, local, high quality food and artisan goods.
As a member, your market will also be able to access discounts and subsidized services, including:
- Discounted registration for our annual Atlantic Canadian Farmers’ Market Conference
- Discounted registration on regional training programs and workshops for Board Members and Vendors including our Non-Profit Board of Director Training
- Discounted purchasing of our customized resources including our Market Manager Handbook with copies now sold across North America
- Discounted purchasing of our video-based trainings – the first and only customized video trainings for the farmers’ market sector (trainings currently available for starting a new market, training a new Market Manager, Boards of Directors, and Artisan Vendors)
- Access to our Insurance Program offering preferred rate coverage to member markets as well as their vendors.
How To Apply:
To apply, please complete the online application form. This includes reviewing and agreeing to our member criteria. Following submission, your application will be reviewed by the Board of the Farmers’ Markets of Nova Scotia Cooperative.
Successful applicants will be notified by email and will later receive a comprehensive welcome package. This welcome package includes a Farmers’ Markets of Nova Scotia Cooperative membership decal, as well as a membership handbook. New members will be added to the Farmers’ Markets of Nova Scotia Cooperative website, email list, and to our private members group on Facebook and will be able to access all benefits.
Membership is valid from the time of approval until the end of the membership year (February). Invoices are issued each May and must be settled by August. First-time members applying after June will be able to access a one-time pro-rated membership option.
Our member markets are committed to providing exceptional local products and experiences to their customers. By joining the Farmers’ Markets of Nova Scotia Cooperative, you make a commitment to sell only the highest quality local products; bringing the best to your community.
Our markets proudly adhere to a “make it, bake it, grow it” policy. They require vendors to provide clear information about the origin of any and all products sold. Our members maintain the tradition of bringing together producers and shoppers, and allow participation of agricultural products, secondary producers, artisans, and artists.
Our member markets must be organized as an association, cooperative, or by some other form of incorporation, with bylaws appropriate for their community.
By joining the cooperative, markets become part of a team, working collectively to create a dynamic farmers’ markets sector which fosters healthy local economies, communities, and people in Nova Scotia. As such, we encourage members to actively engage in the activities of the cooperative, attending the Annual General Meeting or at least one gathering of the cooperative each year.
Member markets agree to incorporate Farmers’ Markets of Nova Scotia Cooperative branding into their marketing strategy when possible, including display of their membership decal at their farmers’ market and incorporating information about the Farmers’ Markets of Nova Scotia Cooperative into vendor information and training sessions. We welcome members to proudly share their participation in the cooperative in a variety of ways, including on their website, in their eNewsletter, and at trade shows.
Members also contribute financially to the cooperative through an annual membership fee. In the spirit of a cooperative, our fees are proportional, and based on the size and season of each individual member market.
Please click here for a complete summary of membership criteria.
Our annual membership fees are proportional, accounting for the differing sizes and seasons of our member farmers’ markets. To this effect, we have created the following fee schedule. Click here to view the fee schedule and locate your market according to your average number of vendors and average number of operating weeks per year.
“The FMNS Market Manager Training Program was very informative and applicable to my market day-to-day and strategic needs.” – Graduate of the Market Manager Training Program 2011
“We have benefited from being members of Farmers’ Market of Nova Scotia member markets and have taken advantage of the training offered for vendors. Because of the specific Farmers’ Market Vendor Training we received, we were able to bring our farm business to the next level because we were able to work on a focused vision, clarity of purpose and directed goal-setting which has helped in all aspects of our business. Because of our training, we are able to work better together as a team, have more confidence in our work and see our bottom line improving!” – Ann Doyle, Joel Huntley and baby Grace, Moon Tide Farm, Scots Bay
“Sales at farmers’ markets make up the largest portion of our total sales. As young farmers, we anticipate and hope that will be the case for our entire farming careers. The success of a market impacts every business that vends there. FMNS helps market managers, boards and vendors run their farmers’ market to be a successful business model. I am grateful for the resources and passion that FMNS offers us as a small, local food farm business.” – Shannon Jones & Bryan Dicks, Broadfork Farm, River Herbert
“FMNS has been extremely valuable for me in its Market Manager Training course and networking. The training course introduced me to what my position really is while giving me the skills and confidence to accomplish it. The networking with other markets, market managers and organizers has allowed sharing of ideas and experiences, and most importantly gets you out of your bubble. Having our umbrella cooperative helps each market in knowing their is someone they can reach out to.” – Ashley Marlin, Market Manager of the Lunenburg Farmers’ Markets and Executive Director of the Hubbard’s Barn Association & Farmers’ Market