As the market manager at North Bay Farmers’ Market, Stephanie says receiving the Ontario Farmers’ Market Manager Certification (OFMMC) feels like being welcomed to a large, supportive team. She particularly appreciated instructor Michelle’s approach to teaching.

“She made each one

[of the seminars] personal with her own experience and provided knowledge from other managers and markets so I didn’t feel like I was the only one with issues or concerns,” says Stephanie, who has been a market manager for two years. “In the end, I felt like I was becoming part of a family.”

The certification rejuvenated Stephanie’s confidence and enhanced her ability to perform her duties and lead her vendors. The North Bay Farmers’ Market operates on Saturday and Wednesday in downtown North Bay and has up 52 vendors on weekends and 18 during the week.

“I completed the OFMMC because I knew there would be information that could help me and the market continue to be successful,” Stephanie explains. “I enjoyed learning about what other managers could be in charge of, and how they might deal with issues or concerns that could arise. It made me remember that my skills and knowledge are indeed transferable.”

Overall, Stephanie says the OFMMC program provided her with valuable information about things she might have overlooked otherwise. She thinks the program is a worthwhile investment for every market manager. While some managers are seasoned pros, Stephanie says, it’s always valuable to learn new information and see things from new perspectives.

“We [can] share ideas and experiences so everyone can learn and grow. You may not need the information, but you likely have information to share with someone who is new to managing a market.”

Of the five main sections of the certification program, Stephanie says she is most excited to implement what she learned from the Vendor and Vendorship Issues webinars. She will use her newly acquired skills to create a stable vendor base that will attract and retain customers.

“My favourite part of being a market manager is the relationship I have with the vendors and customers,” Stephanie says. “I knew my vendors would be excited for me, and they were. So many vendors wanted to see [the certificate] because they were proud that I did it for them.

Click here to read about Harry Engel, another one of the first market managers to receive the OFMMC.