Setting Up the Electrical System for a Farmers’ Market

Many consumers prefer purchasing fresh produce at a farmers’ market rather than from the fresh produce aisle at the local supermarket. Because of the growing interest in fresh foods and healthy living, as well as a desire to support local farmers, to promote local development, and to solidify community or neighborhood pride in the quality of locally grown products, farmers’ markets have always drawn crowds.

In that same vein, there are many farmers who also prefer selling at farmers’ markets because it gives them higher income while minimizing the cost from the point of delivery to the point of sale. Where otherwise they would have to contend with transport costs, the costs of preservation and refrigeration, and the standard fee charged by middlemen before it reaches the consumer at a supermarket several miles away, selling at a farmers’ market simplifies the entire process. The farmer sets up a stand and sells his produce directly to consumers. He does not have to factor in the cost of transport and refrigeration, or the costs of going through a middleman. As a consequence, the farmer can set a higher price than he would if he were selling to a distributor. The cost to the consumer would still be far less, and the farmer would be able to get a higher profit. At our farmers market we trust the local Atlanta electricians – who have been working for over 10 years with us in providing electrical maintenance and support needed for running our farmers market efficiently.

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A farmers’ market, at a very basic level, is a venue for straightforward sales. Farmers sell their produce at a market stall or booth, and consumers come to shop precisely because the produce is still considered to be very fresh. And because of the nature of the industry, these events are usually seasonal – or the produce sold is seasonal. This gives consumers something to look forward to when the season comes for their favorite fruits. And when the crowd starts pouring in, the local community may capitalize on the influx of visitors to showcase several other local attractions, thereby making the entire community a draw to the visitor, rather than just the farmers’ market.

A farmers’ market can either be held outdoors or indoors. By its very nature, the energy consumption of a farmers’ market is considerably low. Some rudimentary power outlets may be provided, and these would be sufficient to provide power for lighting solutions, and perhaps a basic sound system. Farmers’ markets that are held outdoors are not even usually equipped with refrigeration capacities because the very nature of the market is centered around selling fresh produce, not selling produce that is several days old so that they would go bad if they weren’t preserved.

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However, even if the power consumption of a farmers’ market is quite low, it is still important to hire a professional electrician to do the job. This is true whether you are setting up the electrical system for the entire market – especially for outdoor markets, or the checking and maintenance of the current electrical system of an indoor building that will house the said market.

Ask the electrician you hire to check the central power supply for the entire market, as well as to ensure that each booth is equipped with its power source. The lighting and sound systems for the entire market should be running smoothly, and safety procedures mandate a check against overloading outlets given the number of booths that will be utilizing a single and central power source.

Let Your Electrician Tell You How Alternative Energy Powers Your Farm

solar panelsPlenty of electricians still make a good living out of the traditional electrician’s jobs – wiring houses, maintenance checks, and setting up electrical systems in public buildings. But the growth in the field of alternative energy has been great.

Alternative energy is a hot word in the industry and among electricians looking for new avenues or opportunities in their work. Traditionally, our power sources have included gas, coal, and nuclear power. These days, electrical companies are exploring alternative and renewable energy sources, sustainable energy sources which are also often referred to as “green” energy. Examples of these include solar energy, wind energy, and biomass, and all these alternative energy sources have the capacity of expanding the outlook for electricians in myriad ways.

For farming needs, in particular, which are notoriously heavy in power consumption, alternative energy sources that tap into resources that are renewable, and to which they have easy access because of the nature of the farming industry itself, are particularly appealing. Farms consume power for a broad range of uses, from diesel for use in tractors and mechanical equipment, to gas for heating and drying crops. The electrical usage on farms, however, generally depends on the type of farm, and how many electrically powered machines are used. The bigger the farm, the more it is expected to utilize automation and mechanization in the farm’s daily and regular work, which means the higher the electrical power consumption will be. If the farm also works with livestock and poultry that require round the clock heating and lighting solutions, then the electrical energy consumption will certainly be higher. This is why tapping into alternative energy sources is quickly gaining ground among farmers, especially those energy sources which are readily available to most farms in the first place, for instance, solar power and wind power.

Land crops, for instance, need sunlight to survive. Any reasonable-sized farm will have acres of land exposed to sunlight. These same areas can be used for the installation of solar panels to farm solar energy.

wind turbineDepending on how your green electrician has set things up, the power generated from these panels can either be fed back into the farm itself or back into a grid. There are electric companies which offer a purchasing agreement with a private individual where the company pays for the power produced by a homeowner, and which power is fed back into the system. Again, farms have a particular advantage in the use of solar energy because farms already make use of solar power as a matter of course. This will simply be another way of either generating power or of creating an income. Either way, one requires the specialized training of an electrician well-versed in solar energy not only to set up the solar power system but to make sure that the power generated is efficiently and safely routed and utilized.

Wind energy, on the other hand, requires a more technical setup, which also means more required solutions and services from a licensed and experienced electrician.

But the truth is that wind power is no stranger to farms, either. Many farms in the world are equipped with windmills that work by tapping into underground water for irrigation purposes. This is the more traditional function of windmills. More modern technology has developed windmills that still run on the power of wind, but this time is capable of producing power or electricity, again for irrigation purposes. As with solar energy, the entire system has to be set up by a licensed and experienced electrical contractor so that you can efficiently produce and utilize the power generated by wind turbines.

It is imperative for modern farms to be able to generate and utilize power if it were at all possible to do so. And the rising costs of electricity, including the fact that the supply of it is limited at any given time, makes it important for anyone to consider alternative sources of power. Wind and solar energy are a great pair of alternative energy sources that farms can easily tap into, and to utilize in farming, plowing, irrigating, and processing of agricultural products and goods.

For all of these things, the particular expertise of a licensed and experienced “green” electrician is indispensable.

How does an electrician get to this point of familiarity and expertise in what is undoubtedly a novel career option? Well, if one is lucky, they will find a training institute which offers resources and practical experience in green technology and alternative power systems. Otherwise, our aspiring electrician pretty much needs to learn on his own, get his fingers burnt every so often, and to experiment when opportunities for supervised training are not readily available. The truth is, any electrician worth his salt needs to find some way to get his foot inside that door, somehow or another, or risk being left behind as the world decides to move towards cleaner and renewable energy sources.

Top Ways to Check Electrical Wiring Safety at a Farmers’ Market

Even though an event like a farmers’ market isn’t known to be heavy on power consumption, checking for electrical and power safety is a must – as it would be for any event that brings together a crowd of people, and where the electrical system provided is temporary and potentially exposed to the elements. That is why it is highly recommended that a professional electrician is called in during the setup of the physical space for a farmer’s market. You need a professional and licensed electrician to set up the power system, and also to check that all safety precautions are observed. This is especially true if the farmers’ market is being held outdoors, where wiring may be exposed not only to the elements but also to the traffic of people and visitors.

My friend who works for Electrician Columbus Ohio – written a few top safety tips for electrical wiring at outdoor events such as a farmers’ market.

  • Check your outdoor outlets

outdoor light

A few basic tips for ensuring the safety around any outdoor outlets is to keep them away from water – whether a pool, a lake, or rainwater. If any wiring is stretched out across the ground and could potentially get wet from rain, for instance, the wires should be protected with weatherproof covers to prevent unintended accidents or electrocution. Remember, water and electricity don’t mix!

  • When using an extension cord outdoors, use only those that have been rated for outdoor use

Extension cords make our lives a lot easier by making power outlets reachable where they weren’t before. There are different kinds of extension cords, and while some are okay for indoor use, some have been especially rated as safe for outdoor use.

When using an extension cord at an outdoor farmers’ market, make sure that you use the kind rated for outdoor use. These have been specially designed to withstand outdoor conditions and climate, thus preventing or minimizing the chances of electrocution, shock or fire.

indoor market

Check to make sure that the power capacity of your cord matches that of the equipment you are plugging in – and be especially careful of this when you are using power tools. You might want to find a heavy-duty extension cord if you plan to use an electric power tool.

  • Check the wiring

A good number of fires and electrical accidents begin from frayed or worn wiring. Check that the wirings used at the farmers market are in good condition and that none are in a position of becoming frayed or worn. A great deal of wear and tear may result if your wires are stretched out through doors or windows; if you bury them underground and they are not the type of wiring rated for underground use; or if you use staples or nails to hold them in place. In all of these instances, the wires may potentially be exposed to long-term wear and tear that can take its toll after some time, after which they may become potential fire and electrical hazards.

If you’re not sure your electrical system is safely set up for an outdoor farmers’ market, or if you’re not sure you are safety-compliant, have a professional electrician check things out. Better yet, hire a professional electrician to set things up in the first place.