FMC and to partner on assessment of FMPP impacts

      Posted On: July 19, 2012

by Natalie Roper, FMC Research and Education Intern

No buyers’ remorse here! Happy shoppers at Columbia Farmers Market in Columbia, MO, show off their purchase.  The Columbia Farmers Market is an FMPP awardee.

The Farmers Market Coalition (FMC) is embarking on a two-year effort to assess the return on investment of the Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP), with support from the Aetna Foundation. This work expands upon the work initiated by FMC’s FMPP Fact Sheet and success stories from Toledo, OH and Columbia, MO.

In partnership with, FMC will now be investigating and quantifying the range, reach, and impacts of FMPP-supported activities and offer specific stories that illustrate the range, reach, and impacts in order to quantify these outcomes.  This process will start with analysis of existing final grant reports, an online survey of grantees, and follow-up interviews with selected community projects.  By documenting the range of grant investments in community health, this research is intended to help inform future policies, private investment, and allied stakeholders.

FMC is currently working to ensure that its FMPP grantee contact list is accurate and up to date, and identifying priority indicators for measurement, with the assistance of an interdisciplinary team of advisors, including Anne Palmer (Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health), Richard Pirog (C.S. Mott Group, Michigan State University), Jeffrey O’Hara (Union of Concerned Scientists), and Alfonso Morales (University of Wisconsin Department of Urban & Regional Planning).

“Through written analysis, case studies, and multimedia format, FMC hopes to explore and recommend future farmers market funding needs,” says Stacy Miller, Executive Director of FMC, “also equipping its members and allied organizations with the best, most accurate information on impacts of farmers markets.”

Columbia Farmers Market in Columbia, MO, an FMPP recipient

When the 2002 Farm Bill first authorized the Farmers Market Promotion Program, neither philanthropies nor public agencies were fully prepared for the blossoming of farmers markets all over the nation. While the growth alone is cause for celebration, how has this annual source of federal funding made an impact in the growth of farmers markets?  Since its first year in 2006, what kinds of impacts has FMPP cultivated, and how are they being measured? Is FMPP working? Can it be improved? If so, how?

“We look forward to examining the efficacy of the FMPP as a strategic investment in the promotion and sustainability of farmers markets,” says Richard McCarthy, Executive Director of “While we may know first-hand how a FMPP award has improved a local market’s effectiveness and fueled innovation, we hope that our study will provide national insight into what has worked well and how things might be improved.”

This effort is timely, as USDA released the Know your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass 2.0 at an on-line live event at the White House on July 17th.  Working with USDA, FMC and will help ensure that information about funded FMPP projects is accessible and easily searchable by the public as well as market organizers, researchers, and other stakeholders seeking to identify best practices. Given the likelihood of FMPP expanding in scope to support other local food development activities, it is hoped that this project will make structural recommendations for most effectively securing the continued growth and stability of farmers markets as effective mechanisms for equity, access, and community well-being.

If your organization received an FMPP grant since 2006, and the project director is no longer reachable at your organization, please help FMC by providing contact information for the individual best equipped to respond to questions about the project and its ultimate outcomes.  Please email the award year, organization name, and best email and phone number to Natalie Roper at