Bring Fair Trade to Your Farmer’s Market
Because coffee, tea, and cacao (chocolate) aren’t grown in most places in the U.S., many local farmer’s markets allow folks to sell these items at booths, especially when they’re fairly traded and organic. If you’re used to sell Equal Exchange products at your church table sale or for your community group, the farmer’s market is a great way to connect with new people. It’s also a good way to have more in-depth conversations about food justice.
How to get started selling at a farmer’s market:
Find out how to get a permit. Information is often available through your town’s web site, or ask a vendor at your local market who you should call. Permits become available as early as February or March. You will most likely have to submit an application and pay a fee. Then, figure out how often you want to sell. Some markets allow you to be a “visiting vendor” and sell once a month. Secure your spot by obtaining a permit with your local government office.
Jeanne Clapp is a social justice advocate who’s been selling Equal Exchange at local farmer’s markets in Pennsylvania for years. Here are her top tips to have a successful farmer’s market table.
- Get to know your customers! Start by asking “Are you familiar with Equal Exchange Fair Trade products?” Use our handy talking points to get started.
- Try to offer small samples of chocolate or nuts! People love samples and it’s a great way to talk about Equal Exchange.
- Have plenty of printed materials available. Folks love learning about the small farmer co-ops. It’s so easy and fun!
1. Can I sample products before I order a whole case?
The best way to taste our products is to order single items. So, for example, if you hope to start selling chocolate but don’t know which flavors to choose, you can order one bar of each at retail prices and see which you like best and think will be easiest to sell.
2. Can I order the products on consignment and return any leftover products?
Unfortunately, because our products are perishable food items, we are not able to sell them on consignment. Our hope is that our low wholesale prices make it easier for you to place your first order, and that soon the program will pay for itself and give you additional profit.
3. Which products do you recommend I offer for sale?
We suggest starting conservatively, with just 2-3 types each of coffee, tea, and chocolate, then expanding as you learn what your customers’ favorites are.
Organic Breakfast Blend Coffee
Organic Decaf Coffee
Organic Ginger Tea
Organic Green Tea
Organic Rooibos Tea
Organic Panama Extra Dark Chocolate
Organic Dark Chocolate with Caramel Crunch and Sea Salt
Check and see if your farmer’s market has a local coffee roaster who will be selling or serving their own coffee, to avoid competition.
4. How much should I charge?
Are you hoping to raise money through the market? If so, how much money do you need to raise? Is your goal to expose more people to Fair Trade products, without necessarily making a profit for your group? The lower your prices, the more people will buy. You might want to do some research to find out how much products like these cost in local stores or what people in your community are accustomed to paying. Think about any extra costs so that you can ensure that your efforts become self-sustaining. Consider marking things up a dollar or more to cover the market booth fees and also your time. You can get free shipping by ordering at least $75 worth of product with each order. You might want to offer some bite sized samples of chocolate or nuts to draw people to your table and spark interest in the products. The cost of these samples will be another factor.
Wholesale Pricing Information, Selling Tools and Resources
Check out our Wholesale Product List
We recommend the following educational and display items for effective and eye-catching farmer’s market set-ups:
If you’re sampling coffee, use air pot label stickers to tell people what kind of coffee you’re featuring:
Community Sales Airpot Labels #46223
Ordering is easy!
Or order by phone: 774-776-7366 9-5pm Eastern M-F