Who we are
Farmers’ Markets of Nova Scotia (FMNS) is a cooperative of farmers’ markets from across the province. We understand your challenges, see your opportunities and want to help your market flourish.
We have been raising awareness of farmers’ markets, helping markets access project funding and promoting skills training since 2004. FMNS is a leader in training, cooperative marketing, research and advocacy for Farmers’ Markets and local food.
“Our common goal is a healthy and vigorous economy and social life for all Nova Scotians.”
“We believe that sustainable production and responsible marketing of quality local goods is essential to this goal.”
“Farmers’ Markets of Nova Scotia contributes to this goal by maintaining and developing a network of farmers’ markets through which we
- Support mixed family farms and market gardeners throughout Nova Scotia
- Encourage sustainable agriculture
- Create local employment
- Save our ecosystem from the burden of transporting goods thousands of miles
- Bring business vitality to town centers
Executive Director – Keltie Butler has a background in community engagement, agriculture, and facilitation.
Board of Directors 2011 -
The board of directors of Farmers’ Markets of Nova Scotia consists of five elected members who are all intimately involved with the work of farmers’ markets in their regions.
President: Natalie Smith is the President of the Yarmouth Farmers’ Market and an organic farmer.
Vice-President: Meredith Bell is the owner/operator of MaBell’s Country Condiments & Crafts, located on a 4-acre property 14 km outside Mahone Bay. She is serving her second term as a director for the Board of FMNS. She continues to be actively involved as a vendor and/or director of three Farmers’ Markets in Lunenburg County — as past President of the Bridgewater Farmers’ Market, as a director and vendor at the Lunenburg Farmers’ Market and a vendor in Mahone Bay. She is also a member of SlowFoodNS and the Nova Scotia Food Policy Council.
Treasurer: George Casson has been the Treasurer of the Truro Farmers Market for 7 years and a Member of the Farmers Market of Nova Scotia for 7 years where he has been the treasurer since 2010. He has been a member of Casson Family Farm, a Certified Organic vegetable farm since 2003 and a vender at Truro Farmers Market for 7 years.
Previously, he was president and owner of three companies in the hospitality
business for ten years.
Secretary: Ashley Marlin is the Market Manager of both the Hubbards Farmers’ Market and the Lunenburg Farmers’ Market.
Member at Large: John Fletcher is the owner of the Fireside Cafe (Canning, NS) and Al’s Homestyle Sausages.
What we do
We support farmers’ markets by:
- cooperatively marketing member farmers’ markets from across NS;
- providing education and training opportunities to farmers’ market managers, vendors and boards of directors;
- offering support and resources to help farmers’ markets evolve and grow;
- undertaking and facilitating research at farmers’ markets;
- creating connections between farmers’ markets and the wider community;
- advocating for Nova Scotia’s farmers’ markets and local food;
- providing assurance to Nova Scotians that they are shopping at genuine farmers’ markets.
We welcome new members. Please read our ‘Benefits of Membership’  to discover how we can help your farmers’ market bloom.
Join FMNS [join us]
Certified Farmers’ Markets
How can shoppers at farmers’ markets be certain that they are supporting genuine farmers and artisans at authentic farmers’ markets? As local food and farmers’ markets become more popular, we recognize the potential for the ‘brand’ of ‘Farmers’ Market’ to become co-opted by supermarkets, flea-markets and resellers. Loblaws already has a range of mass produced baked goods marketed under the ‘Farmers’ Market’ brand.
In order to combat the misuse of the name ‘Farmers’ Market’ FMNS has created a ‘Certified Farmers’ Market’ brand, which members of Farmers’ Markets of Nova Scotia can use to distinguish their market and guarantee their customers a genuine farmers’ market experience.
In order to become a member of Farmers’ Markets of Nova Scotia you must meet certain criteria , buy a $100 share in the FMNS Cooperative and submit an annual membership fee. To become a certified farmers’ market you must also agree to an annual review by FMNS to verify that the details of your application are accurate.
Farmers’ Market Education and Training Program
Farmers’ markets are popping up all over Nova Scotia, but with no formal training process in place, farmers’ market managers have been struggling to learn the complexities of their profession from scratch.
In 2010 FMNS, in partnership with the Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture and the Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Workforce Development, initiated the process of creating a training program for farmers’ markets managers, vendors and boards of directors. This is a collaborative process and all stakeholders have been asked to provide input regarding the kinds of training needed, methods of delivery and potential trainers.
The consultation process was completed in the Wolfville area and the first manager and vendor training sessions will take place during the summer and fall of 2010. Additional consultations will take place across Nova Scotia throughout 2010.
The resulting training sessions are free to members. Non-members are also welcome to participate but there will be an associated cost.
Shopping Cart Research
Why do supermarkets offer shoppers access to baskets and carts? To encourage shoppers to buy more!
At farmers’ markets, shoppers are often limited by how much they can carry, particularly if purchasing wine, apple cider, vegetables, meats, cheeses and other heavy products. The goal of this research is to determine if shoppers spend more money when they are provided with handy, foldable ‘Hook ‘n’ Go’ [www.need1.ca] shopping carts for their bags and if so, how much. The research, which is funded by the Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture, will be taking place at the Lunenburg, Truro, Antigonish and New Ross Farmers’ Markets.
For more information about any of our projects, please contact our Coordinator [contacts]
Starting a new Farmers’ Market
Farmers Markets of Nova Scotia (FMNS) has over five years of experience of helping new farmers’ markets establish themselves both in Nova Scotia and across Canada. We have the experience necessary to guide you though the decisions of when, where and how to start your Farmers’ Market. By planting strong roots, with the help of the people who know your business best, you can be sure to grow a thriving centre to your community.
For more information about our consulting services please contact our Coordinator [contacts]
Farmers’ markets are booming and many of you are considering making the move into a permanent structure. Whether your farmers’ market is a for-profit cooperative, non-profit cooperative or association we can help you to access the funds that will allow your market to operate year round, rain or shine.
Farmers’ Market Investment Cooperative (FMIC)
The Farmers’ Market Investment Cooperative (FMIC) is a for-profit cooperative, created to help Farmers’ Markets that are non-profit cooperatives or associations access investment from their communities through the Nova Scotia CEDIF system.
Farmers’ Market Development Cooperative (FMDC)
The Farmers’ Market Development Cooperative (FMDC) is a non-profit cooperative, created to help Farmers’ Markets that are for-profit cooperatives gain access to funding from ACOA for major infrastructure development projects.
For more information about how FMDC can help your market move into a permanent structure please read our summary document ‘Building Homes for Farmers’ Markets’  or call our Coordinator [contacts].
NS Food Alliance
Farmers’ markets provide high quality venues for farmers’ to sell their products but where are all the farmers? The decline of farming and the resulting lack of primary producers at farmers’ markets is one of the most pressing issues facing farmers’ markets today. The Nova Scotia Food Alliance was created in 2009 to help combat this problem by focusing on the issue of food production in Nova Scotia.
Community Connectors Program
The Community Connectors program was initiated by the NS Food Alliance to determine the potential for the new Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market to play a more central role in the community. Consultations took place with community groups, institutions and individuals around the themes of environment, health, cultural communities and the arts.
For more information about the Nova Scotia Food Alliance and the Community Connectors program please contact their Coordinator [contacts]