Resources for Group-Based Agricultural Businesses

Together We Prosper: Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture in the Northeast (Powerpoint)

Together We ProsperThe Cooperative Development Institute created this group-based business resource guide to help farmers, agricultural service providers, and economic development professionals work together to develop the products, services, markets and business structures that are needed to sustain agriculture in the Northeast. Despite the impressive successes enjoyed by many group-owned agricultural businesses, information about this approach as a strategy for sustaining agriculture is widely scattered and hard to come by.

 Maine's only dedicated organic grain mill was built in 1963 on a 2-acre plot in Auburn, Maine, right next to the railroad tracks. It has a loading and weighing station and 10 storage tanks. (Photo: Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

Maine’s only dedicated organic grain mill was built in 1963 on a 2-acre plot in Auburn, Maine, right next to the railroad tracks. It has a loading and weighing station and 10 storage tanks. (Photo: Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

This guide begins to fill that void by providing access to group-based business production, distribution and marketing concepts, models and best practices. In so doing we hope to not only strengthen farmer efforts at collaboration, but equally important to contribute to the development of a strong network of agriculture service providers and business specialists supportive of their efforts.

And because this site is a work in progress, we encourage you to send your suggestions for improving the guide, resources to add, links to make, etc. to the Cooperative Development Institute:

Please note that the guide is designed as a PowerPoint Presentation with 106 pages. Please download Together We Prosper: Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture in the Northeast to share with others and know that more information and support is available from the Cooperative Development Institute. If you need the guide sent as a Word document, please email us at the above address.


This resource would not be possible without the generous support of the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (NE SARE) and the many hours of fruitful dialogue and debate amongst the Sustainable Agriculture Advisory Committee for this project.

Some of the information was taken from The Cooperative Leader, editor Jane Livingston, published by Cooperative Development Institute.

Equipment Sharing Co-ops

Farm Equipment Share Fact sheet (PDF) (CDI)

Organizing a Machinery Cooperative  (PDF) (Prof. Phil Kenkel and Garrett Long, Student Assistant, OK State University)

Sharing Machinery and Labor: Operational Issues (getting it done) (PDF) (Iowa State University Extension)

Sample Equipment Co-op Agreement (DOC) (UConn)

Other Agricultural Resources

Market Planning for Value-Added Agricultural ProductsMarket Planning for Value-Added Agricultural Products

Preserving Rural Character through Agriculture Preserving Rural Character Through Agriculture: A Resource Kit for Planners

Growing a Food System for the Future: A Manual for Co-operative Enterprise DevelopmentGrowing a Food System for the Future: A Manual for Co-operative Enterprise Development, by the New England Farmers Union

Screen-shot-2014-02-18-at-11.27.59-AMCooperative Farming: Frameworks for Farming Together, a Guidebook published by The Greenhorns, a network of support for young and beginning farmers, which has an extensive Resources List on their website.

Resources for Farmers’ Markets

Presentations and Manuals

Presentations available for download from the Farmers’ Market Federation of New York workshops presented in March 2009.

Just click on any of the links below to download the Power Point presentation. Or go to to download supplemental documents in Word, PDF or Excel.

Crisis Management Onsite: Developing an Emergency Response Plan (PPT)

Market Magic? Value Added Through Circular Flows (PPT)

Special Events Planning: Farmers’ Market Special Events Development (PPT)

Farm Inspections: Creating a System for Inspections (PPT)

Farmers’ Market Manager Training Manual (PDF)

Developing/Implementing a Market Plan (PPT)

Strategic Planning for Markets: Survey, Overview, Matrix and More (PPsT)


How to bring wireless EBT to your farmers market: bridging the digital divide: Prepared by Lucinda Megill for



Online tool to help measure the economic impact of your farmers’ marke created this free tool to help public markets assess and improve their internal operations as well as communicate their economic impact to others (be it shoppers, vendors, supporters or decision-makers).

Publications and Websites of Interest


Shared Wisdom DVDShared Wisdom: Selling Your Best at Farmers’ Markets

Learn to sell effectively at farmers markets. This DVD, funded by a 2006 Farmers Market Promotion Program grant award, demonstrates techniques used by successful market vendors to attract customers and make sales. It also showcases the extraordinary impact of farmers markets on the lives of consumers and their communities.
For a free copy, click here or call 202-720-8317.

NY Farmers Market EBT/Food Stamps/SNAP Program

Details the benefit card users can see when using their cards at farmers’ markets, helping them make the most of their market visit. The site also features recipes, seasonality charts, produce storage and cleaning tips, and a virtual market locator tool allows cardholders to find the market closest to them.
Farmers Market Consortium Resource Guide: USDA 2006

Farmers’ Market Facts – Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS)

Farmers’ Market Vendor Resource Guide

The New Farmer’s Market: Farm-Fresh Ideas for Producers, Managers and Communities” target=”_blank”

The Revival of Farmers Markets

The USDA Role in Farmers Markets

What Works at a Farmers’ Market (University of CA/Davis)


City Farmers’ Markets of New Haven

Farm Fresh Rhode Island

Farmers’ Market Federation of New York

Federation of Massachusetts Farmers’ Markets

Maine Federation of Farmers’ Markets

The Farmers’ Market Coalition

National Directory of Farmers’ Markets

New Hampshire Farmers’ Market Association

North American Farmers Direct Marketing Association

NYS Direct Market Farmers Association

Compliance and Safetey Issues

Farmers’ Markets Rules, Regulations and Opportunities – an article published by The National Agricultural Law Center

From the Field to the Table: Suggested Food Handling Guidelines for Open-Air Farmers’ Markets and Fairs

Gempler’s: The Newsletter of Ag/Hort Safety and Employment Law Compliance



Government Websites

Agricultural Marketing Service

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Nutrition Website

Connecticut Dept. of Agriculture

Maine Dept. of Agriculture

Massachusetts Dept. of Agricultural Resources

New Hampshire Dept. of Agriculture

New York State Dept. of Agriculture

Rhode Island Division of Agriculture

United State Dept. of Agriculture

Vermont Department of Agriculture

Market Management

Controlling Chaos: Suggested Guidelines for Implementation and Management of a Retail Farmers’ Market

Establishing and Operating a Community Farmers’ Market (University of Kentucky)

Farmers’ Market Online – Information and Equipment for Market Operations

Farmers’ Market Resources for Market Managers – MA Dept. of Agricultural Resources

How to Run a Successful Farmers’ Market

Market Gardening: A Startup Guide – Information on Managing and Marketing Farmers’ Markets



Market Planning

Developing a Farmers’ Market

Farmers’ Market Business Planning Checklist (University of Colorado)

Planning and Developing a Farmers’ Market: Marketing, Organization and Regulatory Issues to Consider

Starting a Farmers’ Market (University of Florida)

Starting a Farmers’ Market the Right Way

Starting your Own Farmers’ Market (MN Farmers’ Market Association)



Market Promotion

ATTRA – National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service: Farmers’ Markets – Marketing & Business Guide

Direct Farm Marketing and Tourism Handbook

Direct Marketing Resource Guide

USDA Farmer Direct Marketing


Nutrition Programs

National Association of Farmers’ Market Nutrition Programs

WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (Women, Infants and Children) – Making food vouchers available for use at farmers’ markets


Organizations and Institutions of Service

Agricultural Marketing Resource Center

Agricultural Marketing Service – AMS Farmers’ Market Information

CISA (Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture)

Community Food Security Coalition

Cooperative Development Institute

Local Harvest

Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association

Northeast Organic Farming Association/Vermont

RIPE New England

Slow Food Boston

Southeast Massachusetts Agricultural Partnership (SEMAP)

Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education