Farmers market food units

Farmer’s Market Food Unit (FMFU) Permit

Public Chapter:

Beginning January 1, 2024, Farmers Market Food Unit permits will be available to vendors who plan to prepare and serve food at Tennessee Farmers Markets (as defined in T.C.A. § 68-14-7) using Improvised equipment rather than permanent, facilities or equipment for accomplishing functions, such as:

  • Handwashing,
  • Food preparation and protection,
  • Food temperature control,
  • Ware washing,
  • Providing drinking water,
  • Waste retention and disposal,
  • Insect and rodent control

Application Process:

If a person operates more than one (1) farmers market food unit simultaneously, then the person must possess a separate permit for each farmers market food unit.

1.         Complete the survey at this link:

2.         The completed survey will be reviewed by the TDH staff in the county where you reside. If you reside outside the state of Tennessee, your application will be assigned to the appropriate Tennessee county for review/permitting.

3.         TDH staff will reach out to you by phone or email to schedule a pre-operational permitting appointment at the local health department in the county where you reside.  You must bring your minimum required improvised equipment to the pre-operational permitting appointment:


  • Beverage cooler with a spigot (minimum 5-gallon capacity)
  • Hand soap and paper towels
  • 5-gallon bucket used to collect dirty handwashing water

Food Preparation and Protection:

  • Food/beverage dispensing equipment (such as a supply of clean disposable gloves and/or serving utensils required to prevent bare-hand contact with ready to eat foods)
  • Covered storage containers, sneeze guards, and
  • Box or oscillating fan and extension cords, if uncovered foods are displayed
  • Adequate means to keep cold food cold and hot foods hot (as required based on the types of foods prepared and served).

Ware washing:

  • At least 3 dish pans that are large enough to submerge the largest equipment/utensils to wash, rinse, and sanitize equipment and utensils
  • Clean water, dish soap, approved sanitizer,  
  • Sanitizer test strips (used to measure the concentration of the sanitizer solution)

4.         Pay the FMFU permit fee:

a.       FMFU permit fee is $300 annually.  The food service establishment permit year is July 1 through June 30.

b.       If you apply for a FMFU permit after January 1, the permit fee for the current year is prorated to $150 for the current year.  Invoices for permit renewals are mailed in mid-May.  FMFU permits must be renewed before July 1 each year.


You apply for your first FMFU permit on March 1, 2024:

  • The permit fee at the time of permitting (March 1, 2024) is $150.  This permit expires on June 30, 2024.

You must renew your FMFU permit before July 1, 2024, to continue operating the FMFU:

  • The renewed permit will cost $300 and expire on June 30, 2025.

5.         A copy of the current, active FMFU permit and a copy of your current inspection must be conspicuously posted every time the FMFU is operated.