Our Mission – The Sarasota Farmers Market Vendors Incorporated (“SFMV”) has been established as a not for profit organization under laws of the State of Florida. The SFMV is a Florida not for-profit organization committed to continuing the 30+ year tradition of enhancing and improving the quality of life in Sarasota. Our charitable mission is to create a social opportunity for residents and visitors to gather and interact, to bring foot traffic to downtown Sarasota sustaining the economic viability of the entire downtown area, to provide a venue for other not-for-profit organizations benefiting Sarasota. Inherent in our charitable mission is educating consumers and sharing knowledge about the products and services of local farmers, local businesses, and local artisans.
History – The Sarasota Farmers Market was founded in 1979 by Paul Thorpe and the Downtown Merchants Association. Its original mission was to bring foot traffic to the downtown area.
- In 2009, the vendors formed a non-for-profit to further enhance the market with a focus on local farms and growers and also to support local non-for-profits and create educational platforms.
SFMV Organization – The market is overseen by a Board of Directors consisting of 13 members, including both non-vendors and vendors, to sustain the organization’s governance. The Board meets the second Tuesday of each month.
Noteworthy Accomplishments – The market has received many awards, both locally and nationally.
- Southern Living Magazine listed the Sarasota Farmers Market as one of the number one farmers markets in Florida.
- We are also the receiver of the Local Hero award for the best farmers market in the area from Edible Sarasota.
- We are the Nattie Award winner from Natural Awakenings of Sarasota Readers.
Community Outreach – Over the last eight years the market has supplied space free of charge to over 100 non-for-profits. These non-profits are part of our mission to create an opportunity for their organizations to not only raise funds, but mainly to get with the community on the programs they supply.
Education – The market offers educational programs to the community on a weekly and monthly basis.
- The weekly programs include our non-profits that promote information about their organization.
- The monthly programs include free hearing test from Hearing Loss Association of Sarasota, Master Gardeners, how to grow segments, healthy eating for adults and children by the Key Culinary Tours, Healthy Start’s annual Latch On event, Citrus Fest, back to school events, Veterans’ awareness program, and the Sarasota Police Department outreach program.
- Coming soon: SNAP and EBT program.
Economic Impact – Founded in 1979, the Sarasota Farmers Market is in the top 5% nationally in attendance with 10,000 average weekly visitors.
- We help 50+ non-profits by offering free space.
- Over 15,000 lbs of produce is donated per year.
- The market offers affordable organic produce options.
- 727 acres are used for local crop production.
- Our produce is a 50 mile average distance to the market.
- The average visitor spends $37.26 in added downtown spending.
- 75% of market customers visit neighboring merchants.
Community Gathering – Local attendees and visitors enjoy the ambiance of the market on a weekly basis.
- We have music at both the north and south ends of the market.
- We supply tables and chairs for customers to enjoy and to have breakfast or lunch.
- Lots of friends gather on a regular basis every Saturday at the market.
- Some customers bring their dogs.
- Our customers reflect a wide demographic.
Local Farmers – Attendees to the market during the growing season benefit from our local growers.
- Worden Farm, an organic grower in Punta Gorda, supplies certified organic produce during the growing season.
- Brown’s Grove, a family owned farm for 100 years, supplies local citrus.
- David’s Aquaponics supplies a wide range of locally grown greens.
- Just Ginger supplies a variety of ginger and turmeric.
- Nature’s Partner, a local farmer for 37 years, supplies a variety of locally grown produce.
- Gulf Coast Mushrooms supply a freshly grown local mushrooms.
- Honeyside Farms supplies local produce, and the largest strawberry purveyor in the area.
- Florida Sea Salt is harvested from the Gulf of Mexico.
- Grove Ladder Farm supplies grass-fed local chickens and eggs.
Health & Sustainability – The market tries to encourage sustainability throughout the community.
- The market and vendors are part of the Sarasota County Green Business Partnership.
- Regions Solar has educated the community at the market on solar for many years.
- We have monthly healthy eating workshops, where customers can learn healthy recipes.