Market Manager Certification Program

The Ontario Market Manager Certification Program is the first of its kind: a professional development course conceived by Farmers’ Markets Ontario and developed in conjunction with Michelle Wolf, a certified coach, business owner and former farmers’ market manager.

The course material is covered in a series of 12 webinars that are 60 to 90 minutes in length. There are no deadlines to meet and you can learn at your own pace.


$113.00 (HST included). E-transfer payment only –

  1. After making payment, the applicant will contact to confirm receipt.
  2. Applicant will receive a link and password to begin the course.
  3. There are no refunds for this program.
NOTE: The webinars are password-protected and are only accessible to those who have registered.

Webinars 1, 2, and 3: Market Management Best Practices

Topics to be covered:

  • Who Does What? – Roles and Responsibilities
  • Leadership
  • Setting up a Board and Team that Works
  • Risk Management
  • Evaluation and Assessment
  • Day-To-Day Operations and Market Day Logistics
  • Policies, Procedures and Rules for Your Market
  • Record Keeping

Webinar 1: Our program begins with leadership, discussing how it affects our management of farmers’ markets. Next we examine the roles within a good market team, consisting of a board, a paid staff person and/or vendor volunteers. We will look at how to set clear guidelines about who is responsible for what and how to think clearly about the role of market manager. This webinar will also look at risks for market closure and what the research findings have to teach us about best practises. We will finish the webinar by exploring how to set up smooth protocols for day-to-day operations and market day.

Webinar 2: This webinar will examine the all-important policies and regulations that govern effectively run farmers’ markets. We will look at rules that help markets thrive and how other markets within North America structure their policy documents. We will also look at some of the top issues for market managers within our sector and share some common challenges – and possible solutions – that emerge for markets. This webinar will finish with some ideas for effective evaluation and assessment.

Webinar 3: During this third webinar, we’ll cover strategic thinking, running a safe market (risk management), staff and manager evaluation, and discuss what records your market need to be keeping. We will finish this first section by summarizing some of the best practises our sector has to share.


Webinars 4 and 5: Vendors and Vendorship Issues

Topics to be covered:

  • Vendor Issues
  • Vendor Recruitment and Retention
  • Product and Vendor Mix
  • Dealing with Concerns about Competition
  • Product Verification
  • Communication and Conflict Resolution

Webinar 4: Vendors form the heart of every farmers’ market. This webinar will focus on how to find and keep the best vendors for your specific market (vendor recruitment, orientation, and retention) and we’ll also discuss the complex topics of vendor competition and product mix.

Webinar 5: During this fifth webinar, we’ll discuss commonly-identified vendor issues and how communication and conflict resolution skills can help teams thrive, even when vendor issues are complex or long-standing. We’ll conclude with a brief look at product verification problems and solutions.


Webinars 6, 7, and 8: Financial Sustainability for Markets

Topics to be covered:

  • Running a Farmers’ Market like a Business
  • Developing and Using a Budget
  • Money Mindset and Thinking like an Entrepreneur
  • Innovative Revenue Streams for your Farmers’ Market
  • Creating your Financial Plan for the Upcoming Season
  • Building Successful, Sustainable Partnerships and Sponsorships

Webinar 6: During this webinar, we’ll discuss why it’s important to view your farmers’ market through an entrepreneurial, business lens and how to use a budget as an important planning tool. We’ll look at the money mindset needed by great market leaders and discuss how to build successful, sustainable partnerships and sponsorships that will maintain a stream of revenue for you year after year.

Webinar 7: The next two webinars will focus on fresh perspectives on fundraising and funding your farmers’ market, including an in-depth look at several concrete fundraising ideas that have worked at other markets. During this webinar, we will introduce a series of fundraising and revenue stream ideas and begin diving into the concepts and “how-to’s” for each one.

Webinar 8: We will finish our exploration of revenue stream options during this last webinar in the financial sustainability section, and conclude with ideas for developing your market’s financial plan for the coming year.


Webinars 9 and 10: Marketing and Promotions

Topics to be covered:

  • Marketing and Branding of Your Farmers’ Market
  • Community Engagement
  • Customer Service
  • Special Events
  • Customer Loyalty Programs

Webinar 9: This webinar will focus on understanding marketing and branding, and coming up with effective strategies to build a tremendous farmers’ market that your vendors buy into, your community values, and your partners support.

Webinar 10: In this presentation, we will explore community engagement and the potential of customer loyalty programs. We’ll discuss best practises for developing programs and events that serve the needs of your vendors and your customers. Finally, we’ll delve into what customer service really means in a farmers’ market context.


Webinars 11 and 12: Skills and Qualities for Market Leadership

  • Topics to be covered:
  • Personal Qualities of Great Managers and Leaders
  • Working with Volunteers
  • Problem Solving and Decision Making
  • Working Smart and Being Organized
  • Workplans and Planning Tools
  • Time Management
  • Tips for Working Successfully from a Home Office
  • Self-Care and Vocational Renewal
  • Leadership

Webinar 11: The final section of this certification program will focus on the personal skills and knowledge that separates good managers and leaders from great ones. We’ll explore how working healthy and smart creates longevity and success, how to use your time effectively, and how to ensure the best outcomes for your farmers’ market. We will also come full circle and discuss leadership one last time.

Webinar 12: This webinar will dive deeply into best practises for developing great and sustainable volunteer programs for your farmers’ market. We will end the webinar with an understanding vocational renewal, discuss how to make decisions and solve problems effectively, and how to use workplans and planning strategies to increase your personal effectiveness in your job.