From direct-to-consumer approaches to institutional relationships to product aggregation, there are a variety of ways farmers can access local markets. Learn more about some of the most popular strategies.


Cooperative Farming handbook cover with drawing of a farm

Cooperative Farming

A cooperative is both a type of business and an attitude. Download file (11.51 MB)

Locally Scaled Local Foods Coop cover with a picture of a farmer

Guide to Starting a Locally-Scaled, Local-Foods Based Cooperative

Information on planning for and running a cooperative can be found in this handbook. Download file (1.25 MB)

Additional Resources

The following resources, which were not funded or produced by SARE, contain valuable information.

The Food Co-op Initiative's library of resources (training materials, reference documents and more for starting a food co-op)

Resources for Food Co-op Start-ups (Neighboring Food Co-op Association)

The Role of Cooperatives in Local Food Systems Development (USDA Rural Development webinar)

Community Supported Agriculture

Download the financing the community supported farm guide in PDF fromat

Guide to Financing Community Supported Farms

This guide outlines alternative, local funding sources that farmers can use to finance their farm business. Download file (3.65 MB)

Local Harvest Multifarm Handbook cover with a drawing of a turnip in blue panes.

Local Harvest

Local Harvest: A Multifarm CSA Handbook offers straightforward guidance on cooperative marketing, an innovative practice that is helping CSAs stay strong and viable over the long term. Download file (1.87 MB)

Farmers' Markets

Market Manager Manual Cover with a table set up with vegetables

Farmers Market Managers Training Manual

This comprehensive training resource provides tools for market managers to be effective and to overcome common obstacles they face. Download file (7.04 MB)

guide to selling at a farmers market

Selling at a Farmers Market

This plain language guide guide explains how to begin selling at a farmers' market, including choosing a market, applying for space, designing displays, setting prices, making sales and keeping records. Download file (1.08 MB)

New Farmers' Market Cover

The New Farmers' Market

The New Farmers' Market - 2nd Edition - is a must-have resource for growers interested in selling their farm or market garden products through farmers markets, as well as for market managers and city planners in starting, managing, and promoting a market.

Different fruits and vegetables set up at a farmers market

Understanding Food Safety

This document lays out permitting requirements and safe food handling practices at farmers markets. Download file (467.42 kB)

Additional Resources

The following resources, which were not funded or produced by SARE, contain valuable information.

SNAP at Farmers Markets: A How-To Handbook (published by USDA-AMS, USDA-FNS and Project for Public Spaces, Inc.)

Market Makeover: 25 Best Practices for Farmers' Markets (Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project)

Farmers Market Coalition Resource Library (webinars and publications related to building successful farmers' markets)

Farm to School/Institution

Cooperative Extension Farm to School Resources

Farm to School resources available from ASAP in North Carolina.

Farm to School training toolkit

Farm to School Training Toolkit

Resources for ag educators and community leaders who are starting a farm to school program. Download file (1.80 MB)

REAP Farm to School Website

The REAP Farm to School program aims to "connect children, farms, and food."

sustainable food purchasing guide cover

Sustainable Food Purchasing Guide

This guide was written to help institutions determine how to source more sustainable food options. Download file (294.47 kB)

Farm to School farm tour

Vermont Food Education Every Day

Includes guides for farmers and food service personnel working to increase local food in schools.

wholesale package resource guide

Wholesale Packing Resource Guide

This plain language guide is for farmers and ranchers interested in selling to supermarkets, produce distributors, restaurants and institutions. Download file (816.09 kB)

Additional Resources

The following resources, which were not funded or produced by SARE, contain valuable information.

Best Practices for Handling Fresh Produce in Schools (National Food Service Management Institute)

Farm to Childcare Curriculum Package (Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy)

Farm to School (USDA's Farm to School program website)

Farm Fresh Healthcare Project How-To Guide (Community Alliance with Family Farmers and Health Care Without Harm)

Food Safety for School and Community Gardens (NC State University and NC A&T State University Cooperative Extension)

National Farm to School Network 

Searchable farm to school resource database (Edible Schoolyard Project website)

Videos of school gardening activities and lessons (Life Lab)

Food Hubs

Assessing the Economic Impacts of Regional Food Hubs: the Case of Regional Access

This report assesses the economic impact of food hubs on the distribution and sale of local foods. Download file (927.13 kB)

Food Hub Development Study in Iowa

In 2014, a team of local and regional food leaders and researchers conducted a study of food hubs in Iowa. The goal was to better understand the current state of food hub development and create recommendations, if warranted, to support further work. This study was the first coordinated attempt to examine food hub development in Iowa. Download file (510.12 kB)

sustainable food systems for Georgia's agrarian future book

Sustainable Food Systems for Georgia’s Agrarian Future

This report analyzes the need for food hubs in Georgia to help facilitate a regional food system. Download file (2.09 MB)

Additional Resources

The following resources, which were not funded or produced by SARE, contain valuable information.

Food Hub Facility Design Case Study (USDA Agricultural Marketing Service)

Local Food System Toolkit (Leopold Center resources on developing and managing food hubs)

National Good Food Network website (resources and webinars on food hubs hosted by the Wallace Center)

Production Planning for Aggregators (Leopold Center guide for large-volume buyers)

Regional Food Hub Resource Guide (USDA Agricultural Marketing Service and the Wallace Center)

The Role of Food Hubs in Local Food Marketing (USDA Rural Development)