Markets don’t ‘just happen.’ Neither does FMC.

      Posted On: May 30, 2012

No matter where you live, you’re probably not far from a farmers market that supports a growing, vibrant, and just local food economy. My local market in Baton Rouge, Louisiana is part of the Gulf Coast region, where most of our farmers grow 52 weeks a year. And as one of our dairy farmers reminds me often, “This farmers market does not just happen on Saturday morning.” He’s right, of course-the ripple effects of this seemingly simple once a week event are vast, despite how much the average shopper takes its existence for granted. Which makes me wonder, what would happen without this market?

As Executive Director of BREADA (Big River Economic & Agricultural Development Alliance), it is my privilege to serve on the Farmers Market Coalition Board of Directors and represent markets from our community in South Louisiana. Over the past few weeks, you have heard from other FMC Board members about FMC’s impact as a national organization to farmers and their markets locally. These inspirational letters have made me wonder what we as market managers take for granted. Do we assume the existence of a national organization just as our customers assume our markets will just “always be there”?

We have so many stories to tell about why markets matter, so many resources to share with markets, and so many ways to connect shoppers, farmers, and markets across the country. I believe my dairy farmer is right when he tells me ‘markets don’t just happen.’ For our markets to serve the Baton Rouge community most successfully, we depend on the tools, resources, and representation provided to us as members in the Farmers Market Coalition. 

We need a national network that connects us to best practices; we want a voice in public policies that impact growing a healthy food system; and we benefit from learning about funding sources to increase the capacity of local food enterprises. Farmers Market Coalition affords my local market the background of information on how to make things happen. It puts the answers to questions at my fingertips and opens doors for Louisiana farmers and our markets that are essential to growth. It is a valuable organization that I am dedicated to helping expand. And it doesn’t just happen.

This movement needs you to exist. Your gift during this last week of FMC’s annual campaign, however small, is important. Farmers Markets from the Gulf Coast to the Pacific Northwest, from New England to California-all depend on the network FMC has built in the last six years.

I’m making a contribution this week, and I hope you’ll join me if you haven’t given already. Together we will make things happen!

And, I’m happy to announce that FMC’s water bottles were so popular during the second week of the campaign that we are bringing them back! If you donate $50 or more between now and June 6th (our sixth anniversary!), you’ll receive a free limited edition FMC water bottle made from EthixMerch— it’s aluminum and made in the U.S. by members IUE-CWA Local #648 in Hermitage, Pennsylvania!

Thank you for all you do in your community to keep our board and staff inspired every day!


Copper Alvarez
Big River Economic & Agricultural Development Alliance
Vice President, Farmers Market Coalition