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Starting a Farmers Market

In June 2010, Mayor Thomas M. Menino directed his administration to expand and promote Farmers Markets throughout the City of Boston. As a result the Mayor’s Office of Food Initiatives was created to assist local farmers, merchants, and various City departments to determine viable areas that would embrace and thrive from Farmers Markets. 

Step 1

To start a Farmers Market, first you must:

  1. Designate a Manager.

  2. Determine a Public or Private Location.

Step 2

Once you have designated a manager, the manager must:

Special Conditions

There are a number of permits managers may need under certain circumstances:


ConditionType of Permit/ ProcessContact InfoLinks
Public WaysObtain a permit from the Public Works Department if a market is on a public sidewalk.Anne McNeil, Rm. 714, City Hall

Public Works Permits
ParksObtain a permit from the Parks Department if a market is in a City park.1010 Mass Ave, 3rd floor

Parks Permits
MusicObtain an entertainment license from the Office of Consumer Affairs and Licensing if there will be amplified music at the market.Rm. 817, City Hall

Consumer Affairs & Licensing
Portable GeneratorsObtain a permit from the Boston Fire Department if markets need portable generators.617-343-3415Boston Fire Department
Cooking DemonstrationsContact the Boston Fire Department Special Hazards Division to see if a fire inspection and/or permit is needed for cooking demonstrations.1010 Mass Ave

Boston Fire Department
Tent StructuresTent structures must be reviewed and approved by the Fire Department and ISD Building Divisions.1010 Mass Ave

Boston Fire Department
Inspectional Services Department


Managers May Also Need:

  • A contract for waste removal.

  • A letter of support from the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services (ONS) listing days and hours of operation and all activities.

    Fee: $50

    Contact Neighborhood Services »

  • A $1,000 check or bond deposit for cleanup based on the type of activities.


Additional Points of Contact


Farmer's Market & Wine SalesMA Dept. of Agricultural Resources
Food Sold By WeightISD Weights & Measures Division
State RegulationsMA Food Protection Program
Seafood Dealers Pilot Program

Charlie Cook, Assistant Commissioner of Health, ISD 

Eric Hicket, Seafood Supervisor, MA Food Protection Program