The Forsyth Farmers’ Market (FFM) was founded in 2009 by six women who came together with the intention of supporting their common vision of a local food system that is good for the health of all people and the environment. They merged with the existing Starland market and sought permission from the city to allow a farmers’ market in historic Forsyth Park. The first market was on May 9th, 2009. The FFM was conceived and planned to provide all members of Savannah’s community a welcoming, inclusive place to purchase local food and address food access issues. Despite some logistical challenges, Forsyth Park was chosen because it is a beautiful, public place in Savannah where everyone feels welcome. The founders made a special effort to seek out vendors from all backgrounds and conduct outreach to a wide variety of people. FFM, Inc. is a 501c3 nonprofit.
From the very beginning, the FFM has focused on food and food issues which is why it is a producer-only market (meaning all vendors have to be producing at least 75% of the products they sell) and allows only food and plant vendors. The founders also sought to address food access by opening the market with a token system that allow shoppers to use SNAP (supplemental nutrition assistance program, formerly known as food stamps). The FFM was one of the first independent, farmers’ markets in the nation to institute this system. By partnering with Wholesome Wave Georgia to double SNAP purchases and by conducting outreach to those community members who utilize SNAP the FFM has had the second highest SNAP sales at a farmers’ market in the state year after year.
Organizers envision a farmers’ market that is a strong hub of community activity that supports many aspects of a healthy local food system. To that end, there are many ways to participate in the market besides buying and selling. The market partners with health advocates, garden enthusiasts, community builders and a variety of other groups. There is a designated education and outreach space at each market. Please check out our “get involved” page to see how you can deepen your understanding of and participation in the transformation of our food system.