FAQ: Approved vs Public

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