Guidelines for Growers & Producers
To ensure that our market truly is trying to build a Local Food System, at this time the Living Well Farmers Market only allows farms and farm products produced within a 200-mile radius of Suwanee. As farms and farm products increase we may try and tighten that radius. All farms and processors selling through the market must be focused on “sustainable” production of local foods. Also, we are a GMO Free market, therefore no items that contain GMO ingredients or animals raised on GMO feed are allowed. You will be asked to sign a Non- GMO pledge as part of the requirements for participation in our markets. For processed foods, your products must be made from organically grown ingredients and we encourage you to obtain them from local sources. We understand that certain ingredients cannot be soured locally. See more details below.
Farms must be Synthetic Chemical Free – by requesting to be listed as a grower on Living Well Farmers Market website you are affirming to our members that you do not use chemicals on your farm such as synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. We also require that in keeping with organic standards any land that has been treated with chemical pesticides and fertilizers cease use for three years before producing products for this market.
Organic and Other Standards – Though Living Well Farmers Market doesn’t require growers to be certified organic or Certified Naturally Grown, we still highly encourage growers to be familiar and follow these requirements where appropriate. For instance many Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) certified pesticides are intended as a last resort, not intended for routine application, and certification programs often restrict the use of many OMRI listed products. Other common sense practices such as precautions with manure handling close to crops, and safety of crop washing water for E.Coli bacteria should be taken into consideration. NO produce from Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) seeds are allowed.
On-Farm Produced Products – All products sold on Living Well Farmers Market’s website must be produced on the farm which is listing the product. Through sales of products grown not grown on a vendor owned farm are not allowed.
Because of stringent state laws, processed foods will require all applicable state licenses in order to sell through Living Well Farmers Market. If your products require a state license we do request that you send us a copy of your license number and even consider posting it on your Grower Description on the website. *Georgia State law basically states that anything that’s edible that isn’t sold in the exact same form it was harvested in requires a license.
Food shall be of sound condition and safe for human consumption and shall be obtained from sources that comply with applicable laws relating to food safety.
Food prepared in a private home may not be used or offered for human consumption in a food sales establishment per GA Dept. of Ag and we no longer accept a Cottage Food License. All processed food must be prepared in a licensed commercial kitchen.
For prepared foods and baked goods, we also ask that you send us a list of ingredients. There are certain ingredients that are not allowed at this market. These ingredients are: refined sugar, high fructose corn syrup, white (bleached) flour, refined or hydrogenated vegetable oils, GMO soy and soy products, margarine, MSG, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, artificial flavorings and colorings, or toxic additives such as aspartame.
Licensed certified kitchen – All processed food must be prepared in a properly licensed certified kitchen and products must be properly labeled. These rules are fairly stringent and can be difficult to meet such as having a 3-basin sink, an additional mop sink, and a hand washing sink. Certified kitchens are regulated through the GA Dept. of Ag. Please submit your certified kitchen address.
Ingredients (sourcing local) – We are slowly trying to work out some standards for what ingredients are allowed in processed foods. Living Well Farmers Market is vigorously trying to encourage local production of all sustainable and organic food products, and as the market develops, we may need to be more stringent in how we define this standard. No GMO ingredients are allowed on this market. Please check your sources to insure this requirement is met.
As a general rule, we require at least 60% of the ingredients in a processed food to come from your farm. The remaining ingredients can be purchased from other farms locally. If (and only if) these ingredients are not available locally, you should use the most sustainable ingredients you can find. In other words if you are making fig preserves, they should be figs that you’ve produced on your own farm. If you add sugar, pectin and lemon juice you’ll likely be unable to locate any of these locally. You should then source organic sugar and organic lemons if they are readily available (which they should be).
This standard applies to all processed foods except for breads. At this time we are not requiring the use of local or organic grains in artisan made breads (though we highly encourage their use). However, for flavored breads such as a blueberry muffin or pumpkin bread, you must source local and sustainable ingredients rather than conventional products unless it’s an ingredient that is not available locally (cranberries are an example). Again, we request that you source organic or sustainably produced ingredients whenever you can.
We may tweak these standards again in the future so please give us your feedback. We just want everyone to try and source the best ingredients that they can while living up to our local and sustainable marketing push.
Ground Grain – If you are milling products such as corn, wheat or rye for sale, the Georgia Department of Agriculture requires a milled products license to be obtained.
Some Wild harvested products that are found off the farm will be allowed provided they are harvested following all applicable laws. (*Please notify us first, if you’re not sure about a certain wild harvested product)
Live plant sales also require a license through the Department of Agriculture.
There are likely many other requirements that we aren’t currently aware of, so we encourage you to look into the requirements for products that you are selling. We’ll just do the best we can to be in compliance with everything that we know about. We’re trying to head this off at the pass so we don’t have to pull an item that has already been posted.
EGGS: If you plan to sell eggs through the market you are required to have a state candling license obtained from the Georgia Department of Agriculture. There are additional requirements for proper refrigeration during transportation. A state candling license requires attendance at a training program. Other than that these rules are fairly easy to follow. In our efforts to differentiate Living Well Farmers Market products from conventional products we also require producers to have layers on pasture, meaning that they are moved onto fresh grass routinely. We do not require organic-only grains currently, but poultry feed needs to be Non-GMO and Non-Soy. No eggs from hens fed soy in any form will be allowed on the market.
PACKAGED MEETS: Have a slew of requirements. Contact the Georgia Department of Agriculture for information. In addition, feed given MUST be non-GMO feed. If feed contains soy, it is required that you state this in your listing.
All vendors are independent entities and as such are responsible for paying all applicable taxes and/or Federal, State, or Local fees. Check the local, State, and other applicable regulations and see how they apply to you. Your pricing on the website should include taxes.
In Store Sales
Consignment and Wholesale We will work with each farm/vendor to determine if consignment or wholesale items will be sold in store. Any items sold through our POS (Point of Sale) system in store will be subject to sales tax and Living Well Farmers Market will collect and pay sales tax.
Items on Consignment
Living Well Farmers Market will carry your inventory for final sale. Because we do not purchase the items you sell on consignment, LWFM does not owe sales tax when we acquire items for sale. Likewise, sellers placing their property on consignment don’t need to worry about collecting sales tax from the store. Instead, LWFM collect sales tax from the final customer on the amount of the sale and send the sales tax they’ve collected to the state department of revenue.
All vendors are expected to deliver their product before members pick up. Member pick up begins at 1pm sharp on Wednesdays. You may deliver anytime/any day (Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday) as long as your items are at pick up by 12:30 pm on Wednesday. I prefer produce to be delivered on Wednesdays. Our Suwanee location at 400 Buford Highway, Suite 1102, Suwanee 30024 at Solis Suwanee Town Center .
15 % of all sales are retained by the market to pay for rent, paper, Internet service, volunteer credits and other overhead costs associated with the market. Weekly payments will be a bank check and will arrive within 4 business days.
On occasion the market manager and/or small group will schedule a time to visit your farm for a farm tour. Visiting your farm not only helps me to understand your practices, but also helps members feel confident about you and your products.
Any conflict, or potential conflict, which may arise between a vendor and a customer, must be brought to the attention of the Market Manager. Please email or call me as soon as possible so that I can help resolve the issue.
From time to time the Market may sponsor a special event (i.e. Open Market, Live Music, Holiday Celebrations, Festivals, etc.). Vendors are asked to accommodate and support these events, as they benefit the entire Market.
Since growers don’t get to talk to members directly through the Living Well Farmers Market, the details of how you describe your farm and farm products is super critical. Please follow these guidelines to insure good communication and a loyal following.
Describing Your Farm
Location of your Farm – please describe where your farm is located, and something about the type of farm (the size, the products grown, length of time growing). We highly encourage you to mention something about your growing practices, such as how you focus on sustainability and the absence of chemicals on the farm. Make sure to include a Farm Name, website (if available), contact info, any Official Certificates such as Certified Organic, Certified Naturally Grown, and Plant license (if applicable). This builds confidence with your consumers.
Updating Your Products before Each Market Cycle – Please post your items by Thursday evenings. The market opens at 7:30am on Fridays. About 70% of members order on Fridays and many of them place their orders right when the market opens in the morning. Our market website address is www.livingwellga.com
Use photos if you have them – we highly encourage the use of photographs to convey to your customers exactly what your product is. Photos must be of the ACTUAL product – only photos of the actual product you are selling are allowed. If you are selling lettuce plants, you must show a picture of the plants, not a photo of the harvested lettuce. This eliminates confusion as many members will assume they are purchasing what is in the photo and will not read all the small details. All photos must be of your products, not an image found on the web.
Adding products – adding products to the market can be just a bit non-intuitive to the new grower. Instructions for posting new items are described in detail on (COMING SOON!)
How to list your products – Our market lists items alphabetically. In order to keep the scrolling market list organized, we highly encourage you to use the following NAMING protocol. First, put the category name, such as TOMATOES or SQUASH, followed by the particular variety. For instance, if you have Dragon’s Tongue beans, you would name your product “Beans – Dragon’s Tongue.” That way all the beans will be in the same place in the scrolling market list. If you just put “Dragon’s Tongue,” people may think we are actually selling the tongues of dragons.
This is a penniless market…and prefers quarters – To make checkout at the market easier we don’t allow the use of pennies in your item totals. We also prefer that dollar amounts end in 5 cent increments, such as $4.95 rather than $4.99. Please round up if you have to!
Taking your products off market – when you are going out of town or taking off for the winter you have to make all your items unavailable. Doing this automatically marks the quantity available to 0. When you return and mark the items available you will also need to update the quantities. You can find this feature on the Your Account page in the Grower section.
Once you are approved as a grower. Read those instructions carefully. Basically you’ll go to the market page and pick the category your item fits in from the choices on the left side of the page. For example, once you pick VEGETABLES a subcategory list will pop up (on the left column). Then you will pick the subcategory, such as SQUASH. If there is no subcategory that includes your item, DO NOT ADD A SUB—CATEGORY without first asking Nora via e-mail for approval (my e-mail is below). Once you choose your subcategory under FRUITS, such as PEARS, look at the top right of the column and you’ll see three tiny icons that look like folders. They are very tiny so look hard. The third icon when you roll over it will say “Add a new product in SQUASH”. Click that and start describing your item.
After you have carefully read all the requirements you may apply to become part of our Market. To formally apply you must click the Login tab at the top of this page, and register for a 21 day Free Trial Membership if you are not already a member. Once you’re a member of the co-op you can click on the Vendor Tab and select the Vendor Registration Form. Enter your farm/business name and information. Don’t forget to hit the Submit button at the bottom once you have completed your application. Thanks so much for growing/producing for Living Well Farmers Market. We hope you sell a lot of delicious, nutritious and sustainable food and products. If you have further questions, please contact me.
Nora Lea, Market Manager – 404-934-4644 or firstname.lastname@example.org