Inspire Civic Engagement at the Farmers Market
Posted On: September 28, 2020
In the wake of the passing of the Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsburg, we hope that all Americans will mourn the passing of a historic member of our Supreme Court and be motivated to actively engage in our political process. These are times when we must lift our collective voices to create the country and systems we wish to see, and we hope market operators will recognize their role as community leaders and engage their community in collective action to make change. As Ginsburg said, “Fight for the things that you care about but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”
Advocacy is essential for the success of markets every year, but one clear lesson of COVID-19 is that farmers market organizations that had the capacity to build strong relationships with their elected officials were better positioned to make their needs known, ensure that markets were listed among essential businesses, and keep their farmers markets open. Farmers market organizations are strengthened by playing an active role in their communities and engaging in the political process.
One way that market operators can mobilize their community in advocacy with local officials is encouraging their community members to vote. In the 2016 election about 100 million Americans who were qualified didn’t vote, but community organizations like farmers markets can help lower that number in 2020.
Here are some ways for your market organization to help increase voter participation in this upcoming election:
Remind market patrons to vote using signage at the market and in market communications like newsletters, social media and pamphlets at the market.
One of the best ways to encourage your friends and family to vote is to make a “voting plan” with a small network of ten people. Talk about issues, make sure everyone is registered to vote, and follow up with people leading up to election day to make sure they have a plan to make their voice heard. You can do this with your community and encourage others to do the same!
- Host a voter registration drive at the market leading up to election day. Running a drive can be as simple as collecting forms at the market managers booth, and some local voter engagement organizations may be willing to send a volunteer to help you!
Learn the guidelines for hosting a Get Out The Vote event in your state:
And find Get Out The Vote resources for organizations hosting voter registration events:
Farmers markets are so much more than just a place to buy food. Even during the pandemic, with social distancing protocols in play, markets have served as a place for community members to come together in support and solidarity. Farmers markets are part of a national movement for systemic change in our food system, and serve as a space to shop and support your local food system directly, and reflect your ideals. Markets have always been hubs of innovation in their communities and a place for new farmers and producers to access customers directly.