Getting Started: Opening a Store or Market
Whether you’re opening a farm market with all your own products, or other farmers’ products, you can use these checklists to get you started when it comes to licenses, permits and regulations.
Read through the zoning regulations for your municipality and familiarize yourself with Act 143. To determine if your agritourism addition meets the specifications of Act 143, you can use the guide above.
- Obtain a zoning permit (if necessary).
- Determine if your municipality requires a site plan review.
- Submit an application and site plan review to your municipality (if necessary).
- Meet with a regional permit specialist ; they can help you determine what permits you’ll need.
- If proposing construction/renovations for a commercial purpose or otherwise, contact a Natural Resources Board (NRB) district coordinator to determine whether an Act 250 land use permit application is required .
- If you add bathrooms, obtain a wastewater permit .
- Make sure to also consider ADA requirements .
- Read through Act 31.
- Post signs at agritourism activities that meet the specifications of Act 31.
- Include the warning notice language in every written contract between an agritourism host and a participant.
- Check with your insurance agent to make sure this type of activity is covered in your policy.
Note: Roadside farmstands do not meet the specifications of Act 31, so if you choose to open a roadside farmstand, you do not need signage.
- Decide what food and products will be sold at your establishment.
- Research any regulations and permits that may be necessary for those products.
- If you are preparing food, you will need a food service license, and should contact the Health Department.
- For licensing, operators are expected to demonstrate knowledge of food safety. The ServSafe (or other) certification is not specifically required, however, it is recommended that operators participate in some kind of food safety training to increase knowledge of safe food handling.
The following table can help you navigate the regulations and licenses required for various types of foods and products that you may be selling or serving.
- If you are selling wholesale, follow regulations listed below.
- If you are producing and serving food regularly, then you may need licensing from the agency for food processing, as well as separate licensing for food service from the Department of Health.
- If you are using products from your farm to make any of these products (for example, jams) then you should follow any regulations listed below for those products.
|Food Product||Examples||Agency with Oversight||Permits/Licenses that Apply|
|Milk, cheese||Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets, Dairy Section|
|Ice cream, sorbet||Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets, Dairy Section|
|Pastries, bread, cake|
Vermont Department of Health, Bakery Section
|Sliced deli meat, sausages, whole meat cuts||Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets|
|Candy, popcorn, jellies, ciders|
Vermont Department of Health
|Fruits, meat||Vermont Department of Health for fruit and vegetables and Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets for meat|
Phone (Department of Health): 802-863-7221Phone (VAAFM): 802-828-2426
Malt and Vinous Beverages
|Wine, beer, spirits, cider, mead||Department of liquor control enforcement and licensing division|
|Syrup, sugar||Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets, Maple section|
|Tomatoes, corn, squash||Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets|