Helping Parks and Recreation Introduce and Expand Farmers Markets and Community Supported Agriculture

By Maureen Acquino | Posted on August 15, 2019

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It’s no secret that park and recreation sites offer the perfect spot to host farmers markets and community supported agriculture (CSA) programs. NRPA is proud to introduce a new suite of resources to help introduce and expand these programs.

Benefits of Farmers Markets

For years, park and recreation agencies have prioritized offering access to healthy foods and providing families with nutrition education. Farmers markets offer an avenue to continue providing these opportunities.

Farmers markets and CSA programs in parks provide many clear benefits:

  • Markets are a win-win for local economy.
  • Markets strengthen local partnerships.
  • Markets promote community collaboration and leverage local resources.
  • Markets serve as a venue for community engagement and cultural reflection.
  • Markets create job opportunities since most produce is sourced within a 100-mile radius of the market location.


When planning to introduce farmers markets or CSA programs in a community, park and recreation agencies often need to know what steps they should take, or how they can enhance existing programs and offerings.

NRPA is offering free, downloadable resources focused on building the perfect pair of farmers markets and parks and rec. These documents provide background on how to support necessary partnerships and are designed to assist you at any stage, no matter how far along you are in your work.

Bringing a Farmers Markets to Your Park and Recreation Site offers suggestions for working with farmers/local produce distributors, strategies to host a “pop-up” market, ways to bring the farm bounty to out-of-school time programs and more. This is truly a guide for park and recreation staff.

Farmers Market Fun for Kids and Community Supported Agriculture: Fun for Kids create age-appropriate lessons around:

  • What is a farmers market or a CSA?
  • How does a CSA work?
  • Where can we find one?
  • How do you buy produce at a farmers market?
  • Why are the things at a farmers market or in a CSA box so healthy for me?

Starting a Community Supported Agriculture Program at Your Park and Recreation Site provides tools for working with farmers and local produce distributors to bring food to families of out-of-school time program participants using the CSA approach. This is truly a guide for park and recreation staff.

Engaging Teens in Commit to Health Programming: Farmers Markets, CSAs and More is a guide for park and recreation staff to engage teens at farmers markets, through CSA programs and as advocates. Teens can voice support for the role farmers markets and CSA programs play in a healthy lifestyle.

Intergenerational Fun! Older Adults and Kids Join in Nutrition and Wellness Activities at Park and Recreation Sites provides suggestions for energizing older adults to lead nutrition literacy activities with youth at park and recreation sites. This guide specifically focuses on farmers markets, CSA programs, and in-season "Summer Fresh" foods of the month cooking and tasting opportunities.

Check out all these new resources and be sure to let us know how you’re implementing farmers markets and CSA programs in your agencies!

Maureen Acquino is a Program Manager for NRPA.