IT'S NOT EASY GROWING YOUR BUSINESS ~ WE THINK F&E CAN HELP
from permitting to insurance, taxes to promotions - we make selling online and at farmers' markets easy.
Not so easy times, mean we need all the ease we can get. We like to think our markets help you to the next place. We aim to make growing your business easier. Why? Because we believe in the entrepreneur, the little gal/guy and the dandy dream. We really like good food, too. Being an entrepreneur takes real work and you wear many hats. We created F&E to streamline the onerous applications and registrations seen with other markets. With a single membership, you receive access to our online store and dozens of market dates, in multiple locations and tens of thousands of customers.
We host upwards of 400 farmers, food makers, artisans and food trucks a year at markets, both in person and online, throughout the Twin Cities. And F&E communicates with well over 1,000 prospective vendors each year. This is a lot of people, and although we aim to give you all the attention we can - this can be tough. That means that the below resources and information come in handy when imagining and planning for your dandy food dream.
COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT MEMBERSHIP
POLICIES, PROCEDURES & LOGISTICS
What is F&E?
We created F&E to support farmers, food producer and food trucks in making more money. We also take on businesses, musicians and nonprofits that see spending time with our customers, at our markets, as a terrific way to support community and our dynamic food scene. We do this is through creating farmers markets, pop-up markets and online markets. F&E is contracted through the Linden Hills Farmers' Market Board of Directors and its 501c3 organization to manage its market, and that of Plate & Parcel Holiday Market.
What type of vendors are F&E Members?
Farmers, food makers, food trucks, artisans and makers (registration is exclusive to some markets), cottage food producers and Department of Agriculture wholesale producers. If you are doing something cool as an entrepreneur, you are our kind of people!
When should vendors become members and register? Do I sell what you want? We are always bringing on new vendors. There is no one time to start a business or to start selling, and truly the best way for us to know if you are a good fit - is for you to become a member.
Please note, we have opportunities for chefs to conduct demos, restaurants to sample, pop-ups at taprooms and elsewhere; plus we regularly get asked about catering. Business sponsors and nonprofit community groups are welcome to spend time with our managed markets, too. Put yourself on our radar and we will talk you up! To make this easy, and to streamline how you get involved in markets- we created a quick and easy process via our F&E Vendor Membership.
What's up with the membership? Why is this required? Why do we pay a membership fee?
In addition, to helping us get to know you, your business and your point of view; we believe in covering our legal requirements and liabilities in advance of your participation with us. The fee is because we find it helps us understand that you "mean business." Plus, we use these dollars to pay for the insurance for our online store, and the markets and events; this protects you even more. Also, F&E offers educational workshops, networking and other professional opportunities throughout the year. The membership fee helps offset these costs.
Can I become a member if I don't have my >> insert any of the following here << State of Minnesota cottage food certificate, City of Minneapolis farmers' market permit, MN ST19 form, and/or insurance certificate?
Yes, indeed you can. Businesses can now become a member and register in advance of receiving their permits and insurance forms. This allows you to get registered more rapidly. All vendors are required to submit this information prior to selling at our markets and we've created this quick form to upload these documents here >>
Also, businesses are now allowed to submit their insurance, permits and ST19 forms after they've become members. We've heard concerns from prospective vendors about the costs associated with securing insurance prior to knowing if they are "in" and with this change we address this. In other words, although businesses are still required to have insurance to participate in our markets and to sell online they can now become members and get registered before purchasing a policy.
Why do I need insurance? Where do I get insurance?
This is really, really important stuff. Insurance helps protect you in situations where an accident occurs during the course of your sale day, while delivering or in a truly unfortunate situation where your foods make someone sick. Personal and business liability insurance for your food business can be had through your current insurance carrier (think: auto, renters or home), or through the FLIP Insurance Program.
Another option for more customized coverage is to go through a local broker. F&E is a big fan of Beth DelaForest of Aspire Insurance.
Lots of vendors use the Minnesota Farmer's Market Association's policy. There is lots more info online >>
Annual coverage usually costs between $150 to $250. All of our vendors are required to carry insurance with a $3,000,000 general aggregate.
SALES TAX FORM - MN ST19
What is the MN ST19 Tax Form and why am I uploading this to F&E?
I know this thing seems weird, especially for those of you used to selling foods. In MN we don't tax most foods, but some we do and in this case, the vendor is required to pay sales tax to the State. This form will talk you through this. Remember, that there are certain geographic regions, like the Downtown Improvement District, that has a specialized sales tax. And yes, the State comes a-calling for these forms from time to time. With that, I am legally required to have these on file at all times. You are legally required to compile with them, however. That is all you. This table is helpful in determining how this form applies to you.
Do I need to have a permit to sell food at your markets? If so, what permits do I need?
All food makers (packaged food, food trucks, ready-to-eat food vendors and cottage food makers) are required to have a permit to sell or sample foods at our markets. This table is helpful when determining how this applies to you.
In general, the most common type of permit for our market vendors is called the "Seasonal Mobile Food Vendor Permit" and it is from the City of Minneapolis. This document walks you through how to apply.
The other most common permit is the MN Cottage Food Permit. You can learn about this permit here. This permit allows you to make some types of foods from home and sell at our marketplaces.
Farmers are exempt.
ONLINE MARKET FAQS
How do I sell online, especially if I'm a newbie?
You'll want to become an F&E Member. This covers your legal, insurance and tax requirements - and truly protects you above all. Please note, we can only have you sell after you've submitted a copy of your permit, ST 19 and insurance certificate. If you've already submitted your membership form, please use this document to upload your documents.
Be aware of any state or local requirements allowing or disallowing your type of distribution. For instance, cottage food makers can only offer pick up or doorstep delivery of their products. Shipping is not allowed.
In this day and time of coronavirus, you will need to guarantee your foods adhere to the strictest standards of operation. A necessary resource >> Please note, new information is becoming available all the time. Stay abreast of current guidelines here >>
Prepare your product descriptions, take excellent photos and determine a delivery or shipping schedule. Go to our market site to learn more and start posting >>
For lots more info, check out our best practices and resource page >>
WHAT is the online platform like? Sellers, like yourself, will create a profile, list products, and then you'll personally ship, deliver or offer market or curb side pick up. This market is a one-stop online grocery shop, where customers can purchase from dozens of small local food makers, artisans and farmers with a single credit card transaction.
WHY wouldn't I just have my own online store? Other than the aforementioned, the value of multi-vendor marketplaces is the increased customer traffic. With such a wide range of products listed, customers will come back again and again. Also, as sellers promote this to their customers it gains an audience in ways one small online store can never achieve.
HOW will this online marketplace coincide with traditional farmer's markets? We anticipate in-person markets will be curtailed in 2020, with fewer vendors and they will be shorter in duration. By creating pre-sales via online channels, we believe public health and vendor safety are best served by reducing concentrations of vendors and customers.
Will F&E host in-person markets this season? F&E is looking at offering quick pick-up neighborhood markets specific to those vendors that sold product online that week at the F&E Marketplace. Online sellers would drop off any pre-sold product for customer pick up at a drive through location handled by just one or two people.
Online sales help:
Customer diversification; we anticipate in-person markets will be slower and less well attended than in past years, and selling online 24/7 reaches a new audience, and a customer-base which we maybe didn't see at traditional markets. Garnering all kinds of new sales opportunities.
Lessens the amount of time spent face-to-face with customers and handling cards or cash, reducing the likelihood of COVID-19 transmission.
Supports the vendor in offering doorstep delivery and shipping, lessening the amount of time you will spend at in-person markets.
Creating specific to already concluded sale, you reduce excess inventory and eliminate waste; saving you time and money, as you only make and package product for a known, paying customer.
WHAT is F&E's role? We administer the online marketplace and serve as its chief promoters, and may offer pick up markets from time to time, too. F&E does not provide distribution, delivery services, manage or hold inventory. Our fees reflect this streamlined service model.
WHAT are the fees and commissions? Shopify handles all payment transactions and take 2.4% of the total purchase price, plus .30 cents per transaction. F&E is waiving all our fees and commissions for the month of April. More information will be posted on this in the coming days.
WHAT other resources are available to help me? We have more resources and advice with our guide to selling online >
IN PERSON MARKET REGISTRATION
I've submitted my membership form. How do I sell at your in-person markets?
Once you've submitted our membership form you are welcome to:
register for our in-person markets. Our registrations are inventory operated, and will close dates once they are filled. That means, if you can see dates available on the registration form, then that date is yours. Please note, some of our markets are invite only and the registration pages will indicate this. Should you want to be considered for an invite-only market, email email@example.com.
become a seller at frankandernestmarkets.com, and then upload products. Please note, we can only have you sell after you've submitted a copy of your permit, ST 19 and insurance certificate. If you've already submitted your membership form, please use this document to upload your documents.