FAQ

HAVE QUESTIONS?

AFMA aims to help you find the information you are looking for. As such, we are constantly updating this page as new information becomes available. If your question has not been answered here, please feel free to contact us.

Questions about an individual Farmers Market?

Please note that AFMA cannot answer questions about individual Farmers Markets. If you are interested in becoming a vendor at a particular market please contact them directly!

General information
on Alberta Farmers’ Markets and AFMA

How Do I start selling my products at a Farmers’ market?

Are you interested in selling your unique Alberta made, baked or grown product at the farmers’ market?  Don’t know where to start. These links contain all the information that you need.

What is the difference between approved and public markets? How do I start a new Approved Farmers’ Market?

An Alberta approved farmers’ market is one that has been approved by Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development (ARD) and as such meets the requirements of the program guidelines that have been approved by the Minister. Approved markets are sponsored by a not-for-profit community group, local Chamber of Commerce, municipality or agricultural society or forming their own not-for profit society under the Societies Act and operate under the direction of an advisory body or board of directors depending on the nature of the sponsoring body. 80 per cent (80%) of the vendors meet the “make it, bake it, grow it” criteria; the remaining 20 per cent (20%) of the vendors are selling products that complement the market mix and the sale of any used good or flea market products are prohibited.

A public market is generally one that is privately owned and includes all types of operations including flea markets. As a public market, each food vendor must have an individual food establishment permit and be operating in a health approved facility. Some municipalities also have bylaws that are applied to public markets. Most municipalities require each vendor at a public market to have a business or peddler’s license, whereas often only a single license is required for the approved farmers’ market because of its non-profit status. A public market does not receive any of the above noted benefits enjoyed by an approved farmers’ market.

For more information including how to start a new market, visit Agriculture and Rural Development.

Do I need any special courses or qualifications to sell food products at Farmers Market?

Yes, the Alberta Food Safety Basics for Farmers’ Markets is a requirement.  Although administered by Alberta Health Services, this course is required by Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development of all food and agricultural vendors selling a food product.  The certificate must be displayed in the vendor’s booth.  If the vendor has completed one of the other approved sanitation and hygiene courses, they are not required to take this home study course.  If you are unsure if a course you have taken is sufficient please refer to this document from Alberta Health Services.  If you have further questions please contact your nearest Environmental Public Health office:

Grande Prairie – 780-513-7517

Edmonton – 780-735-1800

Red Deer – 403-356-6366

Calgary – 403-943-2288

Lethbridge – 403-388-6689

St. Albert – 780-460-4751

Is it mandatory for a vendor to have insurance?

Please note: to qualify for vendor insurance you must be a member of AFMA who sells at an Approved Alberta Farmers’ Market.

Currently it is not mandatory although many markets do require it. Great rates on insurance are one of the benefits of membership. To take advantage of this rate you must have a valid AFMA membership.

Some information on the importance of our insurance:

Insurance is all about risk sharing. With no insurance the risk is all with you.

When a person’s actions result in an injury or damage to others, the law generally provides that the insured be held financially responsible. An example of this could be that you are a vendor and you have a tent set up outside at a market.  There is a terrible windstorm and the tent (which you had anchored down) blows away and hurts someone or damages a vehicle you would be responsible for the damages to the person or the vehicle as you are the owner of the tent.   If you had insurance your liability insurance would cover the loss. If you had no insurance you would have to pay for the damage out of pocket. This could be a small claim or a large one and if you did not have insurance your assets could be depleted to cover the costs of the lawsuit.

For a small annual premium you would have the peace of mind . 

Vendor Insurance

Packages start at just $12 for a one-day policy, with a 150-day policy averaging out to just $1.25 a day!

Duuo package options:

1-day policy: $12
4-day policy: $40
10-day policy: $84
26-day policy: $156
150-day policy: $188

Get started online: https://duuo.typeform.com/to/VkCaePhf?typeform-source=albertafarmersmarket.com

For more information about full year vendor insurance, please contact:

Western Express Business Team
Toll Free Phone: 1 866 245 2780
Email: abfarmers.market@westernfg.ca

 

Market Insurance

 

Jason Arden CLU, CHS Financial Advisor
Jason Arden and Associates Ltd
Mutual Fund Investment Specialist
Co-operators

Jason_Arden@cooperators.ca
#3 2803 50 Ave, Lloydminster, SK, S9V 2A8,
Tel: 306-825-2544 Toll Free Claims: 1-877-682-8246

www.cooperators.ca

 

How do I qualify to become a member of AFMA?

All Alberta Approved Markets are welcome and encouraged to take out membership.

All vendors who vend at least one Alberta Approved Market are eligible for membership.

All memberships are processed on a “first come, first served” basis and may take anywhere from 3 to 14 days to process.  Confirmation of all approved AFMA memberships are emailed out once processing has been completed.

Click here for the most updated list of Alberta Approved Markets.

Please see Become a Member for a full list of member benefits.

I am a vendor having a problem with my market manager, what can I do?

FIRST THERE ARE SOME THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW:

An Alberta approved farmers’ market is one that has been approved by Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (AF) and as such meets the requirements of the program guidelines (keep in mind these are guidelines not legislation) that have been approved by the Minister.

These include:

  • being sponsored by a not-for-profit community group, local Chamber of Commerce, municipality or agricultural society or forming their own not-for profit society under the Societies Act. Privately owned markets are not eligible to operate under the banner of an Alberta approved farmers’ market.
  • operate under the direction of an advisory body or board of directors depending on the nature of the sponsoring body. Public markets typically have for-profit ownership and there is no requirement for an advisory body or board of directors in that situation.
  • decisions are made at the local level (i.e. boards, managers) which strengthens market rules overall
  • 80 per cent (80%) of the vendors are Albertans who meet the “make it, bake it, grow it” criteria; the remaining 20 per cent (20%) of the vendors are selling products that complement the market mix;
  • sale of any used good or flea market products are prohibited;
  • must operate for no less than ten (10) days per year and for two (2) hours per market day;
  • have at least one vendor meeting per year;
  • have developed a set of rules which govern the operation of the market.
  • A copy of these rules must be made available to AF and all the vendors at the market.
  • adhere to the administrative requirements of the program

STEPS ON HOW TO SETTLE A DISAGREEMENT:

  1.   Discussion with the person you are having the disagreement with is always the first step!  Most things can be worked out with a calm discussion over coffee. 
  2.  Review of the policy and procedures manual or bylaws of the society.  If the market is run by a non-profit society you can get a copy of the bylaws by going to any Registries office and requesting them by using the official name of the Society.  
  3.   A written complaint to the society or non-profit board outlining your concerns.  
I would like to start selling my craft beer at the farmers’ market what kind of license do I need?

Food handling and labelling

I would like to sell baking at an Alberta Farmers Market, what do I need to know to get started?

If you are selling at an Alberta approved farmers’ market, you are allowed to do your baking in your home kitchen.  As of June 1, 2020, the Food Regulation allows Albertans to make low-risk foods in their home kitchen for sale to the public, subject to certain restrictions and safe food handling.

Low-risk home-prepared foods can be sold from home (including online or mail-order sales) and special events, as well as from farmers’ markets, where they were sold previously. Special events are temporary events, such as craft fairs and festivals, and have their own set of rules in the regulation.

The Food Regulation outlines the rules for operating a low-risk home-prepared food business. The ‘Low-risk home-prepared foods: fact sheet for operators’ provides direction on how to handle food safely and explains the rules in the regulation.

Home-prepared foods, including those sold at farmers’ markets, will need to be clearly and appropriately labelled so consumers can make informed choices. If you are a vendor selling home-prepared foods at a farmers’ market, you will be asked to comply with the new labeling requirements, in addition to existing farmers’ markets guidelines. For more information on the new labeling requirements, read the ‘Low-risk home-prepared foods: fact sheet for operators’. Implementation of these requirements will take place gradually, starting with education.

New additional requirements for home-prepared foods are that they must be labelled, prior to sale, with the following information:

  • a statement that the food is prepared in a home kitchen that is not subject to inspection
  • a statement that the food is not for resale
  • the name, business name and email address or phone number of the low-risk home-prepared food operator
  • the name of the food product
  • the date that the food product was prepared

All packaging for your baking should be new and food grade.  This means you cannot reuse plastic clam-shells, pie plates or packaging like that. You are required to label all your packages with the following information:

  • Common name (Standardized name set out in the Food and Drug Regulations or any other federal regulations.  If the name is not prescribed, the name by which the food is commonly known)
  • Net quantity (Must be declared in metric units)
  • Dealer identity and principal place of business (The principal place of business is the main location where company-related enterprise occurs.  The address should be complete enough for postal delivery.)
  • Durable life date if product has shelf life of 90 days or less (In addition, storage instructions are required if storage differs from normal room temperature)
  • Nutrition labelling – unless exempt
  • Bilingual labelling – unless exempt
  • List of ingredients in descending order of proportion
  • Allergen labelling (Applicable for all ingredients intentionally added to pre-packaged foods.)

Food allergen defined:  any protein from any of the following foods or any modified protein, including any protein fraction, that is derived from the following foods:

  • almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, walnuts
  • peanuts
  • sesame seeds
  • wheat, triticale
  • eggs
  • milk
  • soybeans
  • crustacea (name of the species)
  • fish (name of the species)
  • shellfish (name of the species)
  • mustard seeds

Gluten defined:  any gluten protein from the grain of any of the following cereals or the grain of a hybridized strain created from at least one of the following cereals:

  • wheat
  • oats
  • barley
  • rye
  • triticale

For more information about labelling, consult the Government of Canada’s Food Labelling Requirements Checklist.  

For more information about the Government of Alberta’s low-risk home-prepared foods consult Alberta’s Food Regulation

If you are preparing a food that might be considered high risk, you may still be able to sell it at the farmers’ market, but it is  recommended that  you speak with a health inspector first about the product.  He/she will ask you questions about preparation, storage, transport and how you plan to display it at the market.  Temperature control is critical.

What are the labelling requirements for food vendors?

WHAT ARE THE LABELLING REQUIREMENTS FOR FOOD VENDORS?

All pre-packaged food products, regardless of where they are sold, are subject to the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act, enforced by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.  All products must be labelled with the following:

  • Common name of product
  • Net quantity
  • List of ingredients in descending order (including food allergens)
  • Durable life date, if 90 days or less
  • Storage instructions, if required
  • Name and address of person making the product (including postal code)
  • Allergens
  • Nutrition fact table – unless exempt
  • Bilingual labelling – unless exempt

It is not sufficient to simply have the ingredient list available.  Ingredients must be part of the product label.

On August 4, 2012, changes to allergen labelling came into effect.  Inspectors from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency did a webinar last June. To view, click here.

Nutrition labelling is not required for most foods sold at farmers’ markets.  However, there are foods which do not receive this exemption regardless of where they are sold. Meat is a common exception.

For more information on food and nutrition labelling as well as exemptions, use the Guide to Food Labelling and Advertising found online. 

For additional information, contact the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Imported and Manufactured Food Division at:

780-495-7023 (Edmonton) or 403-292-4650 (Calgary)

To have labels made professionally we are pleased to recommend:

Bruce Marshall
Nutrilytical
1911 Highfield Cr SE
Calgary, AB T2G 5M1
 
 Typical charge is $140/recipe but can vary according to complexity.
WHAT ARE THE LABELLING REQUIREMENTS FOR MEAT?

Meat is tricky because there are lots of times that it can lose the nutritional labelling exemption. We recommend you talk to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) by calling 780-395-6700 (Edmonton) or 403-292-4650 (Calgary) and explain that you want to speak to a labelling inspector. They will lead you through what needs to be done for your particular case.

Are there any labelling requirements for cosmetic products?

The three most significant features of the Canadian cosmetic regulatory system are mandatory notification of all cosmetic products, safety of ingredients and products, and product labelling.  Please consult Health Canada for more information. 

How do I contact Alberta Health Services in my region or find a public health inspector?

General contact number for province wide Environmental Public Health:  1-833-476-4743

What do I need to know about food sampling and food safety regulations?

Contact Us

Email for the quickest response: info@albertafarmersmarket.com

Call or text!  780-265-AFMA (2362)

*Please note that the Alberta Farmers’ Market Association operates with volunteers & part-time staff.
We do work hard to ensure all inquiries are responded to in a timely manner.

Or mail:

PO Box 69071
13040-137 Avenue
Edmonton, AB  T5L 5E3

For sponsorship opportunities or to purchase advertising, contact us: afma.ab@gmail.com