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SubjectsEconomic Development › Farmers Markets, Public Markets
Updated 04/2014

Farmers Markets, Public Markets



Farmers markets are an integral part of the urban/farm linkage. They are businesses that contribute to local economic development, support sustainable businesses, offer a tourism attraction, and provide the local population with farm fresh foods. Farmers markets have risen in popularity, mostly due to the growing consumer interest in obtaining fresh products directly from the farm. The number of farmers markets in the United States has grown dramatically.

Regulations Relating to Farmers Markets

  • RCW 36.71.090 - Farmers, gardeners, etc., peddling own produce exempt from license requirements — Exception — Valid direct retail endorsement
  • Health Regulations - See individual county health regulations
  • Music at Farmers Markets may require licensing for use - There are three performing rights organizations, each of which administers a separate catalog of musical works. The American Society Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP), BMI and SESAC have substantial rosters of composers, authors, and publishers. In 2002 the International Municipal Lawyers Association (IMLA) developed a joint license agreement with ASCAP and BMI to cover public performances of copyrighted music by local governments.
  • Farmers Market Authorization/Endorsement, Washington State Liquor Control Board - Sale of Washington Produced Wine at Farmers Markets

Operation of Local Farmers Markets

The operation of Farmers Markets vary. Some are operated by the city, a few have city advisory boards, and some cities provide the facilities, but the markets are operated by nonprofits. The examples below illustrate some of the variations.

  • Temporary Use Permits that Include Produce Stands

    • Oak Harbor Municipal Code Ch. 19.35 - Temporary Use Permits
    • Puyallup Municipal Code Sec. 20.70.016 - Temporary Uses
    • Redmond Zoning Code Ch. 21.46 - Temporary Uses (see Sec. 21.46.030(B)(8))
    • Vancouver Municipal Code Ch. 20.885 - Temporary Uses

    Handbooks and Guides

    Marketing and Tourist Promotions

    Farmers Markets and Food Security

    Additional References

  • Farmers Markets, Public Markets Related MRSC Resources
    MRSC Index – Public markets, Farmers Markets, Saturday markets

    Need more information?

    Feel free to Ask MRSC. Washington cities, counties, and our contract partners can call or email MRSC for more information and advice - free of charge.