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Farmers Markets


What a fun way to reap the benefits of gardening by selling part of your harvest, meet new friends, make some money, and get real-world business experience! A Kids Garden Club could have a booth at a Farmers Market!


Have tent, will travel - a 10' square collapsible tent, that is. Two fold-up tables, two folding chairs, a cash box . . . and garden plants and projects to sell. That's what you need to staff a booth at a Farmers Market. That, and parents and kids willing to set up, break down, and sit and interact with the public for several hours on a weekend morning.


It all starts with your booth, and letting people know who you are.


Here's one group's 2' x 8' banner. You are welcome to copy this if you'd like!




This club is going to sell Mother's Day perennials (Mums for Mums) at opening day of the big downtown Farmers Market. Also on sale are other divided perennials, including day lilies, Autumn Joy sedum, iris, purple coneflower, spiderwort and ribbon grass.


Later on, plants the club started from seed will be sold, and next fall, some decorative plants and plant-derived products, including lavender sachets, are on the docket.


The group also is selling kits of children's garden crafts in zip-lock bags for $3 apiece. Examples: plant a bean seed to grow up three nested straws for a retelling of the beloved Jack and the Beanstalk story . . . make a colorful bug ornament for a flowerpot or the garden out of a milk-jug lid and some scraps . . . or make some seed-starting containers out of toilet-paper tubes and crush a Black-Eyed Susan seedhead to get started.


It is possible that the kids will make some pasta sauce and other food products from their garden harvest later this summer, and will check with state and local agencies to see about nutrition safety regulations before they undertake to sell any edible garden products.


The purpose is to raise money to support that club's own summer gardening plans, as well as to raise extra money to provide mini-grants for kids' garden clubs organized for disadvantaged children. The club is not planning to set up a booth every Saturday during the summer, but hopes to be part of the market action for a few sessions in the spring, and again in the fall.



Day lily divisions being readied for sale at a farmers market.



How do you get into a Farmers Market? Just call, and see if the details can be worked out. You must collect and pay sales tax in most localities. A one-day fee might be $30 for the booth, which will be open for 4 or 5 hours.


A permit might have to be purchased from your state agriculture department since live plants will be sold. The group probably will not be permitted to sell any plants that club members didn't grow themselves. Because families are so busy, the club may not have a booth more than a few more times in the spring, and a few times in the fall, so the chores won't be too cumbersome.


But it will be a great way for kids to meet and greet the public, get some sales experience, talk about gardening, and, best of all, create revenue to make all their gardening dreams come true this summer!


By Susan Darst Williams www.KidsGardenClub.org Harvest 01 2011



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