Diving in to all the moving parts

      Posted On: October 24, 2012

Hello FMC Members and Friends,

The past 10 weeks as FMC’s Interim Executive Director have been a whirlwind and a gift. Each aspect of our three-pronged

Interim ED Jen O’Brien in front of USDA’s sunflower garden after September’s Farmers Market Consortium. Photo taken by FMC board member Copper Alvarez.

approach of education, networking and advocacy has been in full swing, and I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to jump right in.

Recent webinars covered food safety, social media, and market manager certification programs, featuring speakers from agricultural extensions, farmers market associations and private consultants. The Resource Library has grown to include 552 studies, reports, videos and guides. The EBT Working Group continues to host monthly calls highlighting tools available for integrating SNAP into markets and increasing the program’s usage.

The listserv buzzes with questions, advice, and recommendations regarding rent structures, vendor policies, marketing tools, and fundraising efforts. The pooled knowledge of 998 vendors, farmers, market managers, and advocates from all over the country provide a powerful resource and support system.

Data and stories of market success provided by our members are inherent to our advocacy efforts. Using your knowledge and experience, recommendations were submitted to the Federal Nutrition Service to improve the effectiveness of the $4 million appropriation for state SNAP implementation. With the help of our partner organizations, we’ve worked to keep members up to date on the Farm Bill negotiations and the future of the Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP).

FMC is continually working to gather more information through surveys, conversations, and initiatives like the Farmers Market Inspiration Award. The inaugural year of this essay contest proved to be a huge success, with 72 farmers submitting heartfelt accounts of their experiences at market. Over and over, we heard accounts of relationships and businesses forged in the early morning at parks, streets, and pavilions. The essays showcased the many ways that farmers markets benefit communities, and in addition to truly inspiring us, will help us build a compelling case for federal support in the future.

We’re so grateful for your active participation in our efforts. In response to your requests and suggestions, we plan to increase networking opportunities and improve educational resources in the coming months. Also, keep an eye out for action alerts as Congress comes back in session in November—FMPP will need your support!

Enjoy your fall market season,