The Forsyth Farmers’ Market (FFM) was founded in 2009 by six women who came together with the intention of supporting their common vision of a local food system that is good for the health of all people and the environment. They merged with the existing Starland market and sought permission from the city to allow a farmers’ market in historic Forsyth Park. The first market was on May 9th, 2009. The FFM was conceived and planned to provide all members of Savannah’s community a welcoming, inclusive place to purchase local food and address food access issues. Despite some logistical challenges, Forsyth Park was chosen because it is a beautiful, public place in Savannah where everyone feels welcome. The founders made a special effort to seek out vendors from all backgrounds and conduct outreach to a wide variety of people. FFM, Inc. is currently in the process of applying for a 501c3 designation.
From the very beginning, the FFM has focused on food and food issues which is why it is a producer-only market (meaning all vendors have to be producing at least 75% of the products they sell) and allows only food and plant vendors. The founders also sought to address food access by opening the market with a token system that allow shoppers to use SNAP (supplemental nutrition assistance program, formerly known as food stamps). The FFM was one of the first independent, farmers’ markets in the nation to institute this system. By partnering with Wholesome Wave Georgia to double SNAP purchases and by conducting outreach to those community members who utilize SNAP the FFM has had the second highest SNAP sales at a farmers’ market in the state year after year.
Organizers envision a farmers’ market that is a strong hub of community activity that supports many aspects of a healthy local food system. To that end, there are many ways to participate in the market besides buying and selling. The market partners with health advocates, garden enthusiasts, community builders and a variety of other groups. There is a designated education and outreach space at each market. Please check out our “get involved” page to see who you can deepen your understanding of and participation in the transformation of our food system.
- to encourage satellite markets in other neighborhoods, particularly food deserts
- to support a mobile market that will reach consumers who have a hard time getting healthy food
- to become financially self-sustaining
- to have a vibrant education component, accessible to all citizens
- to have a large membership-driven base of support for the market itself and related projects
The Farmers Market rules, policies, promotion, programs and expenditures should abide by the following principles.
- The overwhelming focus of the market must be on farmers. We are a producer only market that maintains a 60% whole food to 40% prepared food rate of acceptance of vendors.
- The FFM should support small, local growers. We will keep our requirements simple, maintain reasonable fees, and recruit volunteers to help the farmers at the market.
- The FFM must be welcoming to all citizens. That is why market organizers strive for diversity amongst vendors, shoppers, volunteers, and educators.
- The experience of shoppers at the FFM should be pleasant and help them learn about their food.
- Outreach should be conducted to encourage citizen participation amongst groups that have the least food access and food education. That is why run a token system to allow customers to spend and double their SNAP dollars at the market.
- The market should support additional educational opportunities for customers. That is why we run the Bring it Home project
- The market will give priority to organic production over conventional, whole foods over prepared foods, craft or artisan production of staples over more processed food.