USF Seeking Farmers For Market

Having a backup plan for marketing your plants is always a good thing.  You never know where a valuable customer might be found.  Here is a communication I received from Colleen Mucahey from USF about their need to find some farmers who are willing to sell produce at their farmers market on campus.  They are seeking ornamental plant growers as well.

It is all student volunteers at the moment and it is the last Tuesday of every month from 11-3pm. There are typically about 5-6 farmers because they are just starting out, we've had about 5 markets. This is the mission statement of the group:  FARM is a student-led group of students, staff, and community members, working to reconnect people with the food they eat. FARM seeks to promote eating lifestyles that are more ecologically sound, local/community-based, nutritionally-balanced; and to educate the USF and Tampa community about food production, natural food certifications, and the positive environmental, economic, and health impact of such diets.

Right now we are in need of farmers. We are looking for individuals who do not necessarily have to be farmers. Maybe even a backyard gardener or someone who specializes in something just anyone who might be interested in selling at our market. We would prefer organic but will take conventional to grow the market as long as it is not wholesale or resale produce. We are also trying to educate the USF community on what’s in season and the health benefits of what we are selling. We also will sell plants, flowers, herbs and some packaged items. Right now the university has strict rules on anything homemade related to food but we can sell jams, jellies, one lady sells salsa as long as it is not in containers or plastic baggies (with the exception of dried herbs). We can sell baked goods but they must be things like artisan breads but we don't want to sell anything that is processed so no cookies, cakes, etc. There is a small application I can provide and we discuss these things with the farmer.

Right now it is $15.00 to table and the farmer would have to bring their own tables, chairs, tents. This would cover the tabling fee and parking pass. Right now if a farmer tables with us they pay the $15.00 dollars and the rest they keep. If a farmer is not tabling the fee is $10 and we will sell it for them and give them the money. The tabling fee is our only profit. Consignments work like this. We pick up the product, it is counted and put on a spreadsheet. The farmer names the price and we discuss a few things. Do you want to take back anything we don't sell? If not then we tell them that we will sell their items at the market and then for the rest of that week through word of mouth. On Friday it will be half price. Whatever is left on Friday close of business will be donated to the students and the money will be given to the farmer along with the signed spreadsheet detailing what was sold and for what price. Additionally if there is a need we have gone on a Sunday to pick the crop for the market since most of the farmers that we use are one or two man operations.
Farmers don't have to commit to any specific market we call everyone each month and see what they want to do. So they can come in and out as they please, there is no obligation. We also try and visit the farm/property of the person that is selling to us so both of us can see how they operate and what they do. We try to do this before they come to their first market.

 My contact information is listed below.
Colleen Mulcahey
HR Specialist
University of South Florida
College of Arts & Sciences-DO
4202 East Fowler Avenue, CPR 107
Tampa, Florida 33620
Tel +1 813 974 9102
Fax +1 813 974-3457

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