The Waco Downtown Farmers Market officially kicked-off on Saturday, November 19, 2011. However, the Market did not magically appear over night. Many months – and even years – went into its planning and preparation. Starting in the winter months of 2010, numerous vendors and downtown business people assembled to discuss the creation of a farmers market in the downtown area – yet many current regulations prohibited the sale of meat, cheese, and eggs without the existence of electricity and refrigeration on-site. Thus the Waco Farmers Market Permit Ordinance was crafted by the City’s Planning Department and passed in the winter of 2011. Meanwhile, many other smaller markets formed across Waco but were not re-opened in 2011.
With the passage of the new Ordinance, another group of folks started to meet to re-discuss the idea of a Downtown Farmers Market. Planning and recruitment of new vendors found new vigor under the leadership of local farmer Terry Vanderpool, complemented by the community connections of Bethel Erickson-Bruce and the Heart of Texas Urban Gardening Coalition. Chris McGowan (Director of Urban Development at the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce), James Nelson (Community Banker), Frankie Beckwith, Sara Shoup, Paxton Dove (owner of Dancing Bear Pub, co-founder of Green Kitchen), and Malcolm Duncan (City Councilman) also joined forces and met weekly as the group formed the Waco Downtown Farmers Market Board.
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We at the Waco Downtown Farmers Market value your comments and suggestions on how to improve the Market – as well as general questions. Please leave us your information so that we can get back in touch with you.
WHERE IS THE WACO DOWNTOWN FARMERS MARKET?
The exact location is 500 Washington Avenue, directly across from the courthouse. If traveling on I-35, Exit on 335B. If you are coming Southbound on I-35 (from DFW), take the first right onto University Parks then in about half a mile, turn left onto Washington Ave. We will be the lot on the left across from the courthouse. If you are coming Northbound on I-35 (from Austin), you must turn left under 35 - then follow the aforementioned directions. If you are coming from the Magnolia Silos, the walk is only half a mile straight down 6th street heading the opposite direction of the interstate. We are in the lot on the right across from Café Cappuccino
WHAT DOES WDFM MEAN?
WDFM stands for Waco Downtown Farmers Market.
WHAT HOURS DOES THE WDFM OPERATE?
WDFM is open 9:00 am - 1:00pm every Saturday. Summer hours (July and August) are 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
WHEN DOES THE WDFM OPERATE?
The WDFM is open every Saturday. The only times the market won't be open on a Saturday is if a major holiday falls on or just before a Saturday or severe weather happens. We will post Market closings on the website, on Facebook, and send out an email to those signed up for our newsletter if this is the case.
WHY A YEAR-ROUND MARKET?
While the traditional farmers market season is May to October, we Texans can grow produce well all year - even without utilizing many season extension techniques. If we lived up north, a typical market season would be fine - but in Texas, those months include our harshest season - the scorching summer months when most of our crops stop producing. Even though it's cold and windy (and sometimes snows), we continue to grow lettuce and carrots and onions and pasture our cattle and goats.
WHAT FORMS OF PAYMENT CAN I USE AT THE WDFM?
WDFM accepts cash, credit/debit cards, and EBT (SNAP or food stamp) cards. Most of our vendors have the technology to accept credit/debit cards themselves, but some do not. That is why the Welcome Booth at the market acts as an ATM and is the place to swipe your credit/debit/EBT cards in exchange for wooden tokens that can be spent at the vendors' booths. If bringing cash, please be considerate and bring small change (20's and smaller), since we are operating as a collaboration of small business and may not have the cash on hand to change a $100 bill (unless you are buying $100-worth of produce or pastured meat, of course).
HOW DOES THE WDFM DEFINE LOCAL?
According to the Farmers Market Permit Ordinance, local includes vendors within 150 miles of Waco.
HOW CAN I VOLUNTEER AT THE WDFM?
Oh so many are the ways! Each week we need help from folks staffing the WDFM Market Welcome Booth, cleaning the grounds of trash and recyclables, educating market customers about which waste products are recyclable, taking photos of market happenings, assisting with parking, and helping vendors. We also need on-going help with marketing, website assistance, and music and vendor recruitment. Please fill out the Contact Us Form on this website to sign-up for a volunteer slot - indicating skill set and preferences for helping. You can also stop by the WDFM Market Booth on Saturday and sign up for a volunteer opportunity at upcoming markets.
HOW CAN I BECOME A VENDOR FOR THE WDFM?
Check out our Become A Vendor tab on the main page of the website, and read through all basic qualifications for becoming a vendor at Market. If you have questions or concerns prior to ordering an application, feel free to email the Market Manager (email@example.com) or contact us through the Contact Us Form. We are more than happy to chat with you - during the week or on Saturdays at Market - and want to make sure you are comfortable with regulations and procedures before you join.
I AM A PHOTOGRAPHER/SOAP MAKER/KNITTER/EMBROIDERER/POTTER - CAN I SELL AT THE WDFM?
Only at special events. According to the Farmers Market Permit Ordinance, the WDFM must keep an 80/20 balance of agricultural producers (meat, cheese, vegetable/honey/wine/etc.) to artisan goods (non-agricultural products). Please chat with us at the WDFM Booth on Saturday to check in and see if we're organizing a special seasonal event that will allow crafts.
I WORK FOR A COMMUNITY ORGANIZATION AND WOULD REALLY LIKE TO HAVE A BOOTH AT THE WDFM - HOW DOES THIS WORK?
Great! Each week we hope to feature a great Waco community organization at our Community Booth. If you or someone from your organization is interested, please contact our Market Manager (firstname.lastname@example.org) or sign up through the Contact Us Form. We are unable to consider religious or political organizations, and do not allow organizations to sell products. This opportunity is ideal for organizations wishing to fundraise or advertise upcoming events.