What will the next decade of farmers markets look like?

Posted by Liz on May 02, 2012

Six years ago, a small group of farmers market organizers from around the country formed the first board of directors of the Farmers Market Coalition.  We saw tremendous need in our home states for a leadership organization that would champion the cause of providing farmers and consumers with a marketplace to meet and share the bounty of locally grown food.

The founding board, including Jeff Cole (MA), Diane Eggert (NY), Richard McCarthy (LA), Andrew Stout (WA), Don Wambles (AL), and Mike Bevins (IA) and myself (FL), believed that the time was right for a movement to support the vision of adaptive, sustainable, community-focused farmers markets that give each and every one of us an opportunity to vote with our dollars for truly viable family farms.

Your belief in this vision, and in FMC, is what allows this organization to provide you with the leadership to support policy that works and challenge policy that doesn’t; and to provide technical assistance and education, and a multitude of resources to help you start markets, grow markets, and incubate the local food movement within your communities.

For all of you who have stood up to be counted as a believer in this vision by joining FMC as a member, thank you. Thank you for sharing FMC’s work in your communities and with your fellow market managers and farmers.

Now, six years after our founding, is not the time to rest on our laurels, or accept the status quo. What are your goals in the coming six years? How do you want to grow? FMC will be there for you in the coming decade as it’s been in the past, with stronger efforts built on the solid structure developed over the past six years.

We need your support to make this happen, and to continue to grow our membership of farmers, market managers, and the growing number of market supporters. Fifty percent or less of FMC’s operating budget comes in the form of grants. The rest is up to individuals like you and me.  Will you join me this week in making an investment in FMC, so that we can be here, even stronger, in the coming decade?

This week, the first 10 donors investing $50 or more in FMC’s mission will receive a free limited edition FMC water bottle made from Ethix Merch— it’s aluminum and made in the U.S. by union members IUE-CWA Local #648 in Hermitage, Pennsylvania!

And, I’m proud to announce that Ozark River, maker of portable sinks, was so inspired by our effort to compile state by state food safety regulations and resources for farmers markets that they are issuing a challenge: If FMC can raise $2,900 in the next two weeks, they will match this with another $2,900!  We’re delighted to offer this “double your dollars” opportunity; please help us reach this goal before May 18th!

 

Thank you, and happy May,

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Sharon Yeago

Immediate Past President and Interim Treasurer

Farmers Market Coalition