A Letter from FMC Interim Executive Director, Ben Feldman
Posted On: January 24, 2019
Dear FMC Members,
It’s been three weeks since I began my new position as Interim Executive Director with the Farmers Market Coalition, and it has flown by. It is my great pleasure to take the reins of this organization for the next six months and hopefully beyond.
When I began my work with local food twenty years ago, I never imagined that I would be so lucky as to cultivate a career in farmers markets. During this time, I have often been focused in on a specific project or objective, wrapped up in the day to day, without looking at the bigger picture. When I do stop to consider the significance of our collective work, I am always struck by the unsung value farmers markets provide for our communities, and just how much farmers markets have grown.
Farmers Market Coalition was founded on the belief that we are stronger when we stand together. While they may vary in size and capacity, all markets need support, and FMC strives everyday to ensure our community has the necessary resources, tools, and education to build and grow thriving markets.
2018 was quite the year for us as we overcame adversity on multiple fronts to achieve tremendous outcomes. Our good work was threatened by loss of funding, service interruptions, farm bill partisanship, and multiple government shutdowns, and yet we were able to deliver the most widely celebrated National Farmers Market Week to date, the first national summit for farmers markets, and big policy wins in the farm bill and the on appropriations front.
These successes are ours to share, as they give proof to that founding belief, that when we work in partnership, great things happen. You can read more about them in our 2018 annual report, a detailed overview highlighting these import accomplishments and others from last year.
I anticipate that 2019 will be another big year for FMC and our members. We’re excited to get to work on this year’s goals, including continued advocacy on key federal policies, growing National Farmers Market Week and the national Direct Marketing Summit, improving the tools and support we provide, as well as strategic planning and leadership transitions. Our success at achieving these goals is inextricably tied to our success in building up our members, and supporting our partners, which is why your continued engagement is instrumental to our work.
I know the daily grind of farming and marketing can be overwhelming. The days are long and the work often unrecognized, but together we are shaping not just our own movement, but the direction of the food system as a whole. Farmers markets are changing the way Americans eat, and the way farmers make a living, thanks to the contributions you all make every day.
Over the next few months, you will hear from me periodically about FMC and our collective work, but I hope that you will also share with me your thoughts, insights, or concerns. Please don’t hesitate to email me anytime. Looking forward to rolling up my sleeves with you.
See you at the market,
Interim Executive Director, FMC