Farmers Market Metrics Update

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Have you seen the 2016 Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) Request for Applications? FMC was delighted to see that it included a new set of performance measures (on page 11). While this data collection requirement might seem intimidating at first, many markets are already doing this type of data collection, and it’s helped them to speak confidently on behalf of their work, connect with new funders, and draw in more customers. Through our Farmers Market Metrics initiative, FMC has been working to make data collection and communication easy and intuitive by developing training materials and web tools that are tailored to your specific mission and capacity.

FMC’s Farmers Market Metrics work is taking place through various projects and funding sources, two of which we’re particularly excited about right now. We are pleased to announce that the USDA AFRI funded research project with the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW), called Indicators for Impact, is entering its second year of data collection. Through this partnership with Dr. Alfonso Morales and PhD student Lauren Suerth, eight farmers markets in six states and four markets associated with the Wisconsin Main Street Program have been testing a set of metrics and data collection protocols, working to reach the perfect balance of easy and intuitive data collection methods, which also produce accurate, relevant data on market impacts. Additionally, through a USDA Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) project awarded in 2014, FMC has developed a set of data collection and communication training materials and templates that will be released in the coming weeks. This training reflects a holistic view of data collection and incorporates best practices in place by market managers today, as well as input from professional marketers and designers. We got a great response from the sneak peek we provided farmers market conferences this winter, and we’re excited to make the training resources and web tools widely available.

As this year’s FMPP application deadline approaches (May 12th), you may have received invitations from both FMC and UW for collaboration and assistance with data collection and evaluation for FMPP applications. In case you were confused, FMC and UW are working together on the AFRI funded Indicators for Impact research, but we each have our own separate web portals to access data collection materials. So, if you want to include assistance with data collection in your 2016 FMPP application, please be aware that you could use the FMC data portal or UW’s portal, but not both. (Well, you could use both — but we’re pretty sure market managers have enough on their plates.)

We’re excited to hear so much interest in FMPP, and are delighted to see so many market advocates and state leaders discussing evaluation. Best of luck as you put forth your applications!

Jen Cheek
jen@farmersmarketcoalition.org
(313) 303 6244