Bylaws of the
Abingdon Farmers’ Market
ARTICLE I: PURPOSE
To provide a consistent venue for farmers, food vendors, crafters and artisans from Washington County, VA (and the surrounding area within a 50 mile radius) to sell their wares directly to the public; to encourage the growing and consumption of local foods and to promote the local economy in Washington County, VA.
ARTICLE II: MEMBERSHIP
SECTION 1: Eligibility
Any vendor who participates within the current Abingdon Farmers Market (AFM) season who abides by the rules and regulations of the AFM. A current AFM season begins in April with the startup of the regular market season and continues through the Holiday Market. Membership is granted after completion and receipt of vendor application and required fees.
SECTION 2: Farm Visits
As a producer only market, it is the requirement of the AFM that all farm vendors who wish to participate at the market be open to farm visits throughout the market season. All visits are performed by the Steering Committee members and the Market Manager throughout the season, usually only 1 every 2-3 years, and used only to verify the integrity of our market product.
SECTION 2: Rights of Members
Each vendor shall be eligible to appoint one voting representative to cast the vendors vote in Steering Committee elections and the amending of AFM’s bylaws that take place throughout the current AFM season.
ARTICLE III: MEETINGS OF MEMBERS
SECTION 1: Monthly Steering Committee Meetings
Regular meetings of the Steering Committee shall be held monthly, at a time and place designated by the Committee. All members of the AFM are encouraged to attend any of these meetings and serve in an advisory capacity to any of the business brought before the Committee.
SECTION 2: Mandatory Spring Member Meeting
On the first Monday of April before the start of the regular market season it is required of all vendor/members to attend a mandatory meeting for the purpose of receiving reports, changes and updates on the activities of the AFM for the upcoming market season.
SECTION 3: Annual Fall Potluck Meeting
On the first Monday of every December we celebrate the end of the regular market season with a potluck banquet. All members and their families are welcome to attend and asked to bring a covered dish to the event. While this meeting is not mandatory, there will be official business conducted by the membership in attendance including Steering Committee elections and bylaw amendment votes, if any are needed. It is greatly encouraged for all members to attend this very important meeting should they wish to participate.
SECTION 4: Notice of meetings
All meeting dates will be available on request from the Market Manager or the Steering Committee Members and posted on the AFM website. In the event that either of the member meetings in the spring or fall is to be cancelled and rescheduled, it will be the responsibility of the Steering Committee to enact a proper notification to the member body, whether by mail or electronic mail, when the rescheduled date is to take place.
ARTICLE IV: STEERING COMMITTEE
SECTION 1: Purpose
To promote the unity of vendors, patrons and the Town of Abingdon in AFM decisions. The Steering Committee will serve as the ultimate decision making body for the AFM which includes but is not limited to the following:
- set policies
- determine rules and regulations for the Market
- define job descriptions and rate of pay for AFM staff
- hire AFM staff positions.
SECTION 2: Make up of Steering Committee
The Steering Committee shall consist of thirteen members as follows: 1 representative of the Town of Abingdon (to be appointed by the Town), 1 representative of Appalachian Sustainable Development, 1 elected patron of the AFM, and 10 elected vendors from the AFM. The 10 elected vendors shall be broken down into the following categories that best represents the expected balance of the overall market:
- 4 Produce vendors
- 2 Meat, egg and dairy vendors
- 1 At-Large Farm Vendor
- 1 Craft Vendor
- 1 Prepared Food Vendor
- 1 At Large Non-farm Vendor (Craft or Prepared Food)
SECTION 3: Terms
Elected members shall serve a two year term with one half of the Steering Committee seats being up for election each year.
SECTION 4: Elections
The elections shall be held in the fall season and winners announced at the annual fall meeting of the AFM vendors. Each eligible vendor shall receive one ballot (couples, families and business partners will share one vote). Representatives of Appalachian Sustainable Development and the Town of Abingdon shall be appointed by their respective entities.
SECTION 5: Election Procedures
Every election season will consist of a nomination process and a voting process. Nominations for every available seat will be due, with a vendor/patron bio, by November 1st of every year. A nominations slate/ballot will be mailed, by mail and/or electronic mail, within 2 weeks by the market manager to all of the eligible members of the AFM. While any member of the AFM can nominate any standing member of the AFM for the ballot, anyone who wishes to be nominated must supply their own campaign bio by the appointed deadline.
It is not the responsibility of the Market Manager or the Steering Committee to aid in or run the campaigns of any member wishing to run for these positions. It is the sole responsibility of any who wish to run for these positions to articulate their own campaign material, provide their own media and campaign to active members of the AFM on their own behalf outside of the ballot that the AFM will issue to their active membership.
Upon mailing out of the ballots, votes will be accepted anytime up until the date of the pot luck dinner in December, wherein votes will be counted and the winners declared. All votes can be handed into the Market Manager at the market, by email, by mail or at the potluck itself and is the sole responsibility of every member to participate in the election every season. Elections are open to all members of the AFM.
It is not the responsibility of the Market Manager or the Steering Committee to continually remind everyone to vote.
SECTION 6: Resignation, termination and absences
Resignation from the Steering Committee must be in writing and received by the Secretary. A Steering Committee member shall be terminated from the Committee due to excess absences and/or other reasons that conflict with the best interests of the AFM by a two-thirds vote of the remaining Committee members. Excess absences are defined as having more than 2 unexcused absences from the monthly Committee meetings in a year. All Vacancies created by any of these circumstances will refer to Article IV, Section 7 for replacement procedures.
SECTION 7: Vacancies and Special Elections
When a vacancy on the Steering Committee exists within the first 4 months of a new term, the nominee who came in with the second most votes in the vacant category during the prior election will be offered the position. If the position is turned down by said nominee, or the vacancy is created midterm, a special election will take place to replace the vacancy on the board. In the case of a special election, a notice must be given to the vendor membership, by mail or by electronic mail, at least 30 days in advance to the election deadline with a minimum of 14 days appointed to receiving nominations and an additional 14 days minimum appointed to receiving and counting votes. All votes will be counted and an announcement made of the winner on the deadline stated. The new member will begin the remainder of the vacant term at the next monthly meeting of the Steering Committee. If the vacancy exists within the last 4 months of any term, it is the Steering Committee’s decision by a simple majority vote to forgo a special election and leave the seat vacant until the upcoming election.
SECTION 8: Election Ties
In the event of a tie vote during our normal election season, all tie breaking votes will take place by the AFM members present at the annual fall Pot Luck Meeting. All votes will be final by a simple majority vote and winners will be announced by the conclusion of the Fall Meeting. In the event of a tie vote during a special election, an additional 14 days will be appointed for a revote between the contested nominees. If all procedures have been exhausted and no clear tie has been broken, the Steering Committee itself will then choose the winner of the contested position by a simple majority vote.
ARTICLE V: OFFICERS AND DUTIES
SECTION 1: Appointment of Officers
The officers of the AFM Steering Committee shall be a Facilitator, a Secretary and a Treasurer. The offices of Secretary and Treasurer may be combined into one office if so determined by the Steering Committee. All officers are appointed annually at the January Committee meeting by the newly elected Steering Committee. Their duties are as follows:
SECTION 2: Duties of Officers
The Facilitator shall preside over the AFM Steering Committee and Member meetings, write the agenda for meetings and distribute the agenda to the Steering Committee members prior to the meeting. It is the primary role of the facilitator to keep the meeting and discussions on track to follow the approved agenda in a timely and courteous manner.
The Secretary shall keep minutes of all the meetings of the AFM members including Steering Committee meetings. The Secretary shall distribute meeting announcements, agendas, minutes, and other correspondence to the AFM membership.
The Treasurer shall oversee the financial affairs of the AFM, develop annual budgets for the AFM, create financial reports and regularly present them to the Steering Committee. The Treasurer shall make these records available to any AFM member who requests same.
SECTION 3: Removal of Officers
Any officer appointed by the Steering Committee may be removed by the remaining Steering Committee members by a two-thirds (2/3) vote, whenever in its judgment the best interests of the AFM would be served thereby.
SECTION 4: Vacancies
A vacancy in any office because of death, resignation, removal, disqualification or otherwise, may be filled by the remainder of the Steering Committee for the unexpired portion of the term.
ARTICLE VI: COMMITTEES
SECTION 1: Appointments
The Steering Committee may from time to time appoint such standing and ad–hoc Committees as it deems advisable. Membership of these Committees shall include AFM members and other interested individuals. Power and responsibilities of such Committees shall be determined by the Steering Committee.
SECTION 2: Structure of Committees
Each Committee shall appoint within themselves at least one chair and one secretary to perform running the meeting and maintaining the minutes required by each Committee if the appointments are not made by the Steering Committee upon their creation. All members of the appointed Committees and any change of Committee members must be approved by the Steering Committee by a simple majority vote.
SECTION 3: Minutes
Committees shall keep minutes of their meetings, report at regular AFM member meetings, and file their Committee minutes as attachments to the minutes of the next regular AFM member meeting’s minutes.
ARTICLE VII: STAFF POSITIONS
SECTION 1: Market Manager/Outreach Coordinator
The Market Manager will serve as the Steering Committee’s representative at Market as well as fulfilling the following duties and responsibilities. Hours worked and wages shall be determined as needed by the Steering Committee.
- Enforce Market rules and regulations
- Collect fees and assign spaces (providing receipts for all collected fees)
- Must attend Tuesday and Saturday Markets
- Arrive 1 hour prior to Market and stay to end
- Participate in farm visits as budget permits
- Maintain a log of all phone calls / Market activity
- Represent the Abingdon Farmers Market at civic functions
- Take comments/complaints from vendors and customers
- Arrange for special events and entertainment at the AFM
- Submit press releases and AFM calendar events to local media
- Coordinate advertising and publicity for the AFM
- Demonstrate basic computer and communication skills
- Maintain a neat and welcoming appearance
- Help promote and oversee Senior Nutrition and Food Stamp programs at Market
- Help train vendors and customers in use of the programs/equipment
ARTICLE VIII: INDEMNIFICATION OF STEERING COMMITTEE MEMBERS AND OFFICERS
Each Officer now or hereafter serving the AFM and each person who at the request of or on behalf of the AFM is now serving or hereafter serves as a Officer of the AFM, and his representative heirs, executors and personal representative, shall be indemnified by the AFM against expenses actually and necessarily incurred by him or her in connection with the defense of any action, suit or proceeding, in which he or she is made a party by reason of being or having been such a director or officer, except in relation to matters to which he or she shall be adjudged in such suit, action or proceeding to be liable for negligence or misconduct in the performance of duty: but such indemnification shall not be deemed exclusive of any other rights to which such person may be entitled under any law, agreement, vote of the Steering Committee or otherwise.
ARTICLE IX: AMENDMENT OF BYLAWS
These Bylaws may be altered or amended by a two–thirds vote of the membership present at any given meeting where the proposed change has been listed as an agenda item for said meeting. Any member unable to be present at said meeting may submit, to the Secretary, in writing his or her comments at least one week prior to the meeting. Notice of specific language of proposed amendments to Bylaws must be provided in writing, either by standard mail or electronic mail, to the membership at least 14 days prior to the meeting.
ARTICLE X: ACCOUNTING YEAR
The fiscal year shall be the calendar year.