Metrics/Evaluation 2.0, Part Four

      Posted On: August 26, 2019

An update from FMC Senior Advisor Darlene Wolnik on the ongoing development of its Metrics product and on FMC’s work in providing overall evaluation and technical assistance to markets and networks.

Next Steps for FMC

Inside Metrics, we have continued to work on solutions for seamless data uploads, more market-level and project-level functionality for markets and networks, which certainly adds a level of complexity to Metrics that remains a challenge in our development.

Like everything else about creating tools for market organizations, it has been a challenge in this process for FMC to find the right balance of support without exorbitant costs attached to its development or by presuming a one-size-fits-all solution.  We think our emerging suite of tools and added technical assistance will offer enough support without prescribing everything about evaluation.

(This was in part 1, but I felt it should be added again here as it is an important update):

We definitely see the need for a much more detailed on-boarding process for networks, and as such will be taking on new networks on a case by case basis as we define and design that process.

Because data aggregation across markets can be so complex, we are still deciding on what the future development of network reporting will be, and are likely to spend some effort on offering in-house design services for networks to offer more-sophisticated reporting that cannot be done in Metrics easily.

For example, vendor data becomes a lot more difficult for markets to enter and manage when it will be used in automated reporting by the network. That added use by the network of data that is shared across market organizations has resulted in many more bugs in the system; the question for FMC and accountholders is whether completing the automated reporting function for networks’ vendor data worth the cost and the time it will take to make functional? Or are Excel downloads and report templates enough? We’ll be asking those questions of our current accounts -and of other networks too.

Even  with what has already been expended by FMC and Farmspread to build this tool and our plans in the works to add much functionality to it in future seasons, we also want our market and network partners to know we understand that evaluation needs across the market field are still much larger than what the Metrics resources provide. That means we will continue to allow anyone to use our templates and guides on our site www.FarmersMarketMetrics.Guide which is outside of any paywall. We encourage any and all to also share feedback with us as we continue to add to it. FMC remains eager to support any market organization that is not yet sure Metrics itself is for them, but still wants some evaluation tools. So check out the Guide site and our Resource Library when seeking resources for evaluation.

And if we can help those of you working on grassroots food system evaluation outside of the market field, maybe we can help you too and you can help us. Let us know.

We hope this update was helpful. It has been an exciting time for FMC and we are deeply grateful to all of the markets and networks who have patiently worked with us in developing our suite of tools.

In terms of 2019 and beyond, the partnerships we are investing in indicate that training and technical assistance for markets and networks will become a much bigger deal at FMC. We have certainly heard from our market members and partners that was a need we should meet. We’re very excited to be moving into that direction and will have some announcements soon.



Part 1: Background: FMC and evaluation

Part 2: Market Needs/Types

Part 3: Network activities