Grow With FMC & Make Farmers Markets Matter

      Posted On: April 14, 2010

Sharon Yeago

Dear fellow farmers market supporter,

We know that improving the capacity of farmers markets to incubate new businesses, increase fresh food access for families, and dramatically change people’s relationships to food is important to you. We’ve been listening to our members, and we know that the nation’s more than 5,200 farmers markets face a host of challenges, requiring concerted and long-term investments from both public and private funders. For too long, farmers markets have been making miracles happen without reliable funding streams.  More than 60% of them are operated exclusively by volunteers.

Will you join us to support the growth and capacity of farmers markets nationwide?

The Farmers Market Coalition is your opportunity to join voices with the diverse and decentralized community of markets. By becoming a member, you join us at the table as we

* Build the capacity of farmers market associations to provide leadership and services to market managers and producers
* Ensure consistent, accurate, and timely data on farmers markets
* Help farmers markets capture a higher percentage of the $50 billion in SNAP & $600 million in WIC Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Vouchers
* Increase farmers markets’ access to USDA grant programs
* Inspire regional cross-pollination of leadership, best practices, and ideas
* Research and communicate the broad spectrum of farmers markets’ positive impacts to legislators, funders, and other stakeholders

In the last year, FMC’s members have helped us grow to:

* Launch a new and improved Farmers Market Resource Library with more than 350 tools
* Sponsor six Webinars to help markets improve operations
* Host an ever-growing market manager Listserv for the exchange of best practices
* Provide ‘Markets Are Up!’ outreach materials to communicate the benefits of farmers markets

But we need your help. The time is ripe to advocate for farmers markets and offer solutions to the challenges of farmer recruitment, reaching new customer bases, operational sustainability, navigating regulations, good governance practices, and measuring market impacts.

In the last several months, you’ve likely heard about new initiatives like Know your Farmer, Know your Food, and First Lady Obama’s Let’s Move! These are high-level campaigns to support local food systems and grow a healthier America. In October, FMC sat down with Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan to remind her about the challenges that our members are spelling out for us.  More than ever, USDA is listening.  With you as a member, the voice of farmers markets is louder, clearer, and more compelling.

FMC was at the table for you when the Farmers Market Promotion Program was first created and then expanded in the 2008 Farm Bill. On our members’ behalf, FMC spoke out to urge for the expansion of the WIC Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Cash value Voucher (CVV) into farmers markets, and we’re continually working to support new funding avenues and streamlined application procedures to help more markets successfully implement SNAP/EBT.  This month, we aligned with the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition to urge Senators to support scale-sensitive approaches to food safety, as well as technical assistance and education, to more farmers.

We look forward to working with you and for you in the fight to place farmers markets centrally in the spotlight as the ultimate incubator of green jobs, healthy habits, and grassroots community revitalization.  This is our time.  Won’t you join us, and become a proud member of FMC?

We hope you’ll take a moment to learn more about joining our growing network. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for all that you do.


Sharon Yeago
President, Farmers Market Coalition