Bring Fair Trade to Your Farmer’s Market

Are you looking for a new way to connect your community with the mission of Equal Exchange? Take your table sale outside and try selling fairly traded and organic products at your local farmer’s market! It’s easy to get started and a great way to connect with new people in your community.

Because coffee, tea, and cacao (chocolate) are products aren’t grown in the U.S., many local farmer’s markets allow folks to sell these items at booths, especially when they’re fairly traded and organic. If you’re used to sell Equal Exchange products at your church table sale or for your community group, the farmer’s market is a great way to connect with new people. It’s also a good way to have more in-depth conversations

How to get started:

Find out how to get a permit for your local farmer’s market. Information is often available through your town’s web site, or ask a vendor at your local market who you should call. Permits become available as early as February or March. You will most likely have to submit an application and pay a fee. Then, figure out how often you want to sell. Some markets allow you to be a “visiting vendor” and sell once a month. Secure your spot by obtaining a permit with your local government office.

Jeanne Clapp is a social justice advocate who’s been selling Equal Exchange at local farmer’s markets in Pennsylvania for years. Here are her top 3 tips to have a successful farmer’s market table.

1. Get to know your customers! Start by asking “Are you familiar with Equal Exchange Fair Trade products?” Use our handy talking points to get started.
2. Try to offer small samples of chocolate or nuts! People love samples and it’s a great way to talk about Equal Exchange.
3. Have plenty of printed materials available. Folks love learning about the small farmer co-ops. It’s so easy and fun!

Common Questions:

1. Can I sample your products before I order a whole case?
The best way to taste our products is to order single items. So, for example, if you hope to start selling chocolate but don’t know which flavors to choose, you can order one bar of each at retail prices and see which you like best and think will be easiest to sell.

2. I’m hoping to start selling Equal Exchange products but I’m nervous about the up-front costs. Can I order them on consignment and return any products that I can’t sell?
Unfortunately, because our products are perishable food items, we are not able to sell them on consignment. Our hope is that our low wholesale prices make it easier for you to place your first order, and that soon the program will pay for itself and give you additional profit.

3. Which products do you recommend I offer at my sale?
We suggest starting conservatively, with just 2-3 types each of coffee, tea, and chocolate. Some of our most popular products are:
Organic Mind, Body and Soul Coffee
Organic French Roast Coffee
Organic Decaf Coffee
Organic Ginger Tea
Organic Green Tea
Organic Rooibos Tea
Organic Panama Extra Dark Chocolate
Organic Milk Chocolate
Organic Dark Chocolate with Caramel Crunch and Sea Salt
Organic Dark Chocolate Minis
Organic Palestinian Olive Oil
Organic Tamari Roasted Almonds
Organic Dried Mango

Be sure to check and see if your farmer’s market has a local coffee roaster who will be selling or serving their own coffee, to avoid competition.

​4. How much should I charge?

Are you hoping to raise money through your sale? If so, how much money do you need to raise? Is your goal to expose more people to Fair Trade products, without necessarily making a profit for your group? The lower your prices, the more people will buy. You might want to do some research to find out how much products like these cost in local stores or what people in your community are accustomed to paying. Think about any extra costs so that you can ensure that your Fair Trade efforts become self-sustaining. Consider marking things up at least a small amount in order to cover the market booth fees and also your time. You can get free shipping by ordering at least $135 worth of product with each order. You might want to offer some bite sized samples of chocolate or nuts to draw people to your table help spark interest in the products​. These cost of these samples will be another factor.

Wholesale Pricing Information, Selling Tools and Resources

Check out our Wholesale Product List

We recommend the following educational and display items for effective and eye-catching farmer’s market set-ups:

Coffee Supply Chain Poster #45104
Proudly offering Equal Exchange Coffee, Tea and Chocolate Poster #45100

The History of Authentic Fair Trade Comic Book #44202
Equal Exchange Annual Report #45007
Table Signs #50004

Chocolate pamphlets #45006
Tea pamphlets #45051
Equal Exchange general brochures #45004

Power to the Farmers stickers #45030
Olive Oil tags #72521

If you’re sampling coffee, use air pot label stickers to tell people what kind of coffee you’re featuring.
Community Sales Airpot Labels #46223

Display Racks:
Product display racks for tea #40184
Product display racks for chocolate #40180

Ordering is easy!

Order online here.

Order by phone: 774-776-7366 9-5pm Eastern M-F

About The Author

Bethany Karbowski

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