The DC Food Policy Council wants to hear from current and aspiring farmers market managers about how the city can best support expanding farmers markets in DC. Join us for one of two conversations in June:
- Monday, June 13, 3-4pm: CURRENT Farmers Market Owners, Operators, and Managers. Register HERE.
- Monday, June 27, 3-4pm: INTERESTED AND ASPIRING Farmers Market Owners, Operators, and Managers. Register HERE.
The District is home to a vibrant array of farmers markets located in all eight Wards. Farmers markets are important food access points, spaces for community building, and ways to activate public space. Please see below for resources for starting, operating, or visiting a local farmers market.
Where Can I Find a Farmers Market Near Me?
On this interactive map (last updated April 2022), you can find your closest DC farmers market, including which markets accept SNAP benefits, WIC benefits, WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program benefits, and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program benefits:
How Can I Start a Farmers Market in DC?
Last updated May 2021
1) Apply for Class C Vending License – Public Market Vendor License
- Class C: Authorizes a person to manage public markets on public or private space for the sale of agricultural goods and other farm products, or other food as designated by DC Department of Health (DC Health) Director, and other non-food merchandise or services as designated by the DCRA Director.
- DCRA Vending Handbook
- Steps (outlined in DCRA Vending Steps to Licensing)
- Corporate Registration
- Register Your Business and Trade Name with the Corporations Division (If you are applying as a sole proprietor with no trade name, a corporate registration is not required)
- Tax Registration & Clean Hands
- Register your business with the Office of Tax & Revenue by completing form FR-500. (If operating as a sole proprietor with no trade name, make sure you are up to date with OTR.)
- Request a Certificate of Clean Hands: this certifies that you or your business doesn’t have any fees or fines owed to the District and that you are up to date with filing business taxes. The certificate must be dated within 30 days of submission of your license application.
2) Location Authorization
- Apply for a Public Space Permit from the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) if your market will be located on public space. Note: If your market will be located at a DPR or DCPS location, you will be required to submit a space agreement/permit from the respective agency.
- DPR process: https://dpr.dc.gov/page/how-apply-permit
- 2021 handbook: https://dpr.dc.gov/sites/default/files/dc/sites/dpr/page_content/attachments/DPR%20Permit%20Handbook%20Final%20.pdf
- Need fee-based-use permit
- DCPS process: https://dcps.dc.gov/page/use-dcps-fields (didn’t have any go through this process during COVID)
- Apply for a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy from the DCRA Permit Center if your market will be located on private property.
- Fees for DPR permits are waived for farmers market operators and vendors if they sell food through SNAP or WIC.
- Meter fees are waived for farmers market operators and vendors if they sell food through SNAP and WIC.
3) Submit your Application Materials
- Submit Vending Business License & Vendor Employee Badge Applications to email@example.com with the following documents attached:
- Corporate Registration and Trade Name Registration (if applicable)
- Notice of Business Tax Registration & Clean Hands Certificate
- Public Space Permit or Temporary Certificate of Occupancy
- Government-Issued ID for manager and all employees
Questions to consider before starting a market:
- Where do you want your farmers market to be located? Is the location at a public site or a private site? Is the public site DPR land, general public space, or DCPS land?
- What public benefits will you or your vendors accept? SNAP, WIC, WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program, Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program
- What insurance do you need and what insurance do you need your vendors to have?
- What type of vendors would you like to accept? Will you be charging them per week, per season, or based on sales? Consider what types of businesses you’ll attract with each model.