Pocket Market Toolkit

Section 1: Why Pocket Markets Section 2: About Pocket Markets Planning a Pocket Market Setting up a Pocket Market Information for farmers Links to resources

Pocket Market Toolkit Home

Section 2: About Pocket Markets

What is a Pocket Market?

"The market table was a mouthwatering piece of art in itself, a divine display of the regions harvest, deep purple blueberries accompanied by yellow plum tomatoes, fragrant basil, and fresh salad greens, free range eggs…and the gooiest caramel brown cinnamon buns!"

A Pocket Market is like a "mini" version of a Farmers Market. Usually a Pocket Market is one stand, but could be more. A Pocket Market could be run by a local farmer, a group of farmers, backyard growers, a community group, or by FoodRoots Distributors Coop. Currently, the majority of Pocket Markets are operated by a community group working together with FoodRoots. The group provides the venue and FoodRoots provides the food and farm products.

Pocket Markets are held in many different locations. They could be situated at community halls, neighborhood parks, on a roadside or sidewalk, in office buildings, recreation centers, or churches. They could run year-round, seasonally, weekly or just once at an event. What differentiates Pocket Markets from other regional farmers markets is that generally they are smaller in size and intended to directly serve a specific neighborhood or community.

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Options for different types of Pocket Markets

There are currently 12 Pocket Markets in the Greater Victoria area, and this number is growing. Each market looks fairly similar in that there is a market table, tent and wonderful array of foods, fresh fruits and vegetables. They are held at a wide range of locations, from a town square (Esquimalt), to the local YMCA (VicWest), to a government office (Ministry of the Environment) to a foyer of a Post Secondary Institution (Camosun College and UVIC) and beyond. Most of the markets are hosted by a local neighborhood or association, a Health and Wellness Committee in an office building, or a group of interested co-workers or students. Currently most markets are run in conjunction with FoodRoots but there are many other types of operating models.

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Descriptions of Pocket Markets types

FoodRoots Pocket Market
The community or sponsoring group provides the location, insurance, and helps with promotion. FoodRoots basically brings the market. FoodRoots supplies: the equipment (tent, table, etc.), produce and other local goodies, displays and sells the produce, deals with any leftovers, and takes the financial risk. For example, this model is used in the Fernwood neighborhood, and in the various government ministry offices.

Community Pocket Market
A local group sponsors a market and invites local growers and processors to participate. The Community group/organization provides the location, insurance, promotion and equipment. The group could access the FoodRoots "Mobile Market" to help them with the market infrastructure (see below) to set up a market.

Hybrid Market
A combination market. Each community/group can create a market model that will work for them. Perhaps you want a FoodRoots market that also provides room for other tables where growers and processors can come and sell (this is the Vic West model). Another option would be to invite FoodRoots as an addition to an already existing community market or event. For example, the Quadra Hillside Days Market. This could provide an existing market or event with additional food and education resources.

Mobile Market
FoodRoots is developing a Mobile Market (tent, table, tablecloths, cashbox, scales, etc.). This will be available to community groups and organizations on a first come first serve basis to get you started. There may be some deposit costs involved. Contact FoodRoots for more information.

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Where might Pocket Markets be a good option?

So far markets have been held at the following venues:


Educational institutions:

BC Ministries:


Some other possible options and venues are:

Some of the limiting factors for certain locations are zoning and permitting regulations held by Municipalities and also institutional policies or food service contracts (more on this in subsequent sections).

Next - Section 3: Planning a Pocket Market

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