In the News

Hagstrom Report: Food waste and food insecurity rising amid coronavirus panic
April 3, 2020 – The situation of farmers markets amid the coronavirus varies dramatically around the country, according to a media analysis by The Hagstrom Report. In Washington, D.C., the markets remain open, and last Sunday the Freshfarm Market in Dupont Circle had a steady stream of customers who seemed to vary in their commitment to social distancing. The market had a full range of booths from those offering French bread and pastries to those selling fruits and vegetables and meats including water buffalo steaks and pate from animals grown in northern Virginia…Ben Feldman, executive director of the Farmers Market Coalition, a lobbying group, told The Hagstrom Report in an email, “It is our position that farmers markets are essential services and should remain open as long as they can take steps to implement social distancing practices to minimize the spread of the virus. Farmers markets that cannot or will not implement such efforts should not remain open.”[Read more – paywall]


National Geographic: Food waste and food insecurity rising amid coronavirus panic
March 30, 2020 – With restaurants, schools, caterers, corporate cafeterias, and some farmers markets shutting down, farmers also have fewer outlets for their highly perishable produce, exacerbating a supply bulge. Finding new markets for crops that don’t keep, like leafy greens, is difficult. “Farmers planned for their sales outlets months ago when they planted,” says Ben Feldman of the Farmers Market Coalition. “If their markets are forced to close and they can’t pivot to other sales outlets, that produce will rot in the field.” [Read more]


Bloomberg: Farmers’ Markets Are Crisis Lifelines to U.S. Growers and Shoppers
March 27, 2020 – Secretary Karen Ross of the CDFA, which certifies farmers’ markets, said guaranteeing robust access to healthy food sources was a critical consideration in Newsom’s declaration. Across the country, however, state policy on farmers’ markets is a patchwork. Some cities have deemed them non-essential, while others have yet to make a decision…“People prefer to buy from farmers’ markets,” said Ben Feldman, executive director of the Farmers Market Coalition, a national organization with a membership of 12,000 operators. These days that may be especially true, since it’s easier to keep six-feet apart in a parking lot than in a supermarket produce aisle. [Read more]


Adams on Agriculture [Radio]:
March 26, 2020 – Thursday on Adams on Agriculture Ben Feldman, Ex. Dir. Of the Farmers Market Coalition discusses the impact of COVID 19 on farmers markets, AFBF economist Michael Nepveux looks at the cattle markets and the ag economy during COVID 19 and Donnell Rehagen, CEO of the National Biodiesel Board gives an overview of the industry and the importance of the Administration not appealing the SRE court decision. [Read more]


Hagstrom Report: Farm groups urge passage of coronavirus bill
March 25, 2020 – A wide range of farm groups today urged Congress to pass the coronavirus aid bill to which the Senate leaders and the Trump administration agreed early today…Ben Feldman, executive director of the Farmers Market Coalition, said, “Farmers markets and direct-market farmers and ranchers across the country have been in a state of limbo for weeks; this package gives them a path forward. While there is more yet to do, we want to thank in particular Senate Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and Senate Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., for their tireless advocacy and support of the local/regional food economy… [Read more – paywall]


FERN’s Ag Insider: As Congress earmarks aid for ag, farm groups say more may be needed
March 25, 2020 – Farmers and ranchers would see $23.5 billion in aid under the coronavirus bill agreed on by the Senate and the Trump administration on Wednesday. The two largest U.S. farm groups welcomed the aid but said more may be needed to survive the looming economic slowdown…“Farmers’ markets and direct-market farmers and ranchers across the country have been in a state of limbo for weeks,” said Ben Feldman, executive director of the Farmers Market Coalition. “This package gives them a path forward.” [Read more – paywall]


Civil Eats: As Coronavirus Ravages Businesses, Small Farms and Independent Restaurants Rally for Economic Relief
March 24, 2020 – Meanwhile, an analysis of the impacts of COVID-19 on farms that sell into local markets predicts a $689 million decline in sales from March to May 2020, leading to a payroll decline of up to $103 million and a total loss to the economy of up to $1.3 billion. Individuals, businesses, and nonprofits have launched numerous efforts to raise funds for impacted workers, restaurants, and farmers—but advocates say real, lasting relief will only come from bold government action…

NSAC is calling for emergency payments to farmers who have lost income as well as expanded access to credit for farmers. The Farmers Market Coalition, a nonprofit that supports local markets across the country, is also pushing for those payments and is asking for a federal declaration that farmers’ markets across the country be allowed to continue to operate as essential services, regardless of local shelter-in-place orders. [Read more]


Consumer Reports: Consumers Look Beyond Grocery Stores to ‘Camping’ Meals and Farms for Food
March 24, 2020 – “We’re definitely seeing farmers getting creative,” says Ben Feldman, executive director of the Farmer’s Market Coalition, which advocates on behalf of 4,500 farmers markets across the U.S. “Small farmers are very adaptable and nimble folks, though. We’re seeing them do more with their CSAs [community supported agriculture], adding drop points and doing more door-to-door deliveries. They may be working with neighbors or working with other farms to put together box programs.”…Farmers markets, meanwhile, are putting measures in place to try to keep their customers safe.

“Markets are doing excellent social distance modeling,” says Reana Kovalcik, communications and outreach specialist for the coalition. “They’re capping numbers, letting people know where they should be standing, asking people not to touch food they don’t plan on buying, offering hand sanitizer, and using gloves.” [Read more]


CapRadio: Some Sacramento Area Farmers Markets Staying Open After Shelter Order, But Not All California Markets Will
March 22, 2020 – The Midtown Farmers Market in Sacramento was bustling Saturday, but there were no samples as vendors are taking precautions due to COVID-19. California farmers markets are considered essential and don’t have to close even after the statewide order that all residents stay in their homes except for essential activities…But not all markets are open across California or the nation, says Ben Feldman with the Farmers Market Coalition. The group represents markets nationally and says California is a microcosm of what’s taking place across the country. They also offer tips for markets to stay open while keeping people safe. [Read more]


reason: Shuttering Farmers Markets Over COVID-19 Is Stupid, Dangerous, and Counterproductive
March 21, 2020 – Farmers markets, a vital link in the food chain for many U.S. consumers and small farmers, are under threat across the country as lawmakers and regulators scramble to restrict public gatherings in the face of COVID-19…The Farmers Market Coalition (FMC), a nonprofit that seeks to strengthen farmers markets around the country, thinks markets should have the choice to remain open. And it’s outlined several steps to accomplish that goal while addressing farmer and consumer safety—including eliminating food sampling, requiring vendors who handle money to wear gloves, and promoting social distancing recommendations. [Read more]


Hagstrom Report: NSAC, Farmers Market Coalition call for aid
March 20, 2020 – A report released today by the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition said that key local and regional markets (i.e., farmers markets, farm to school, food hubs serving other institutions, and restaurants) expect to see up to a $688.7 million decline in sales leading to a payroll decline of up to $103.3 million, and a total loss to the economy of up to$1.32 billion from March to May 2020…

The Farmers Market Coalition on Tuesday said Congress should:

▪ Direct USDA to develop an emergency disaster payment to small and beginning farmers selling fresh and minimally processed food through direct marketing channels such as farmers markets that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.
▪ Introduce administrative flexibility for the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program, Value Added Producer Grant program, and Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentives Program by removing the matching funds requirements from both programs, extending deadlines, and expediting review and approval of projects.
▪ Encourage state agencies participating in the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) to make bulk purchases for 2020, and make local produce accessible to WIC-Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) participants by allowing state agencies to purchase FMNP farmers’ produce in bulk. [Read more – paywall]


The Bennington Banner: Farmers Markets Plan for Changes
March 20, 2020 – Farmers markets are making changes to their operations and hours while attempting to continue serving the community amid the novel coronavirus outbreak…The state is working on guidance for farmers markets with the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont and other support agencies to allow for continued access to healthy local food during the outbreak, Alissa Matthews, agricultural development specialist with Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets, said on Thursday afternoon. The guidance is expected to be released shortly.

The national nonprofit Farmers Market Coalition has been compiling best practices for farmers markets during the outbreak at farmersmarketcoalition.org/covid-19-crisis-farmers-market-new-guidelines. [Read more]


The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Atlanta area farmers markets fight to stay open amid a COVID-19 crisis
March 20, 2020 – Across metro Atlanta, an early marker of spring is the opening of neighborhood farmers markets, their tables full of tender salad greens, eggs and fresh bread. But as the COVID-19 pandemic worsens, small local farmers who sell at those markets are racing to find ways to stay afloat if those markets do not open in the coming weeks….The National Farmers Market Coalition is working with markets from California to Key West to share best operating practices during the crisis and for virus-related regulatory news by state. [Read more]


Union of Concerned Scientists: Coronavirus Aid Must Help Farmers Keep Foothold in Local Food Economies
March 20, 2020 – Major grocery chains are seeing sharp increases in sales this week as households stock up and prepare to stay home to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Photos of empty shelves in stores across the country have even prompted warnings against hoarding and reminders to shop responsibly. But beyond the walls of the nation’s big box stores, other vital facets of the food system are faring far worse. Among them are the local and regional markets that allow farmers to sell directly to consumers or to restaurants, schools, and other institutions…

The National Farmers Market Coalition has mobilized to help consumers learn where markets have been declared essential services, and to provide market operators with best practices, tips, and resources for weathering this emergency. [Read more]


Civil Eats: The Fight to Keep Farmers’ Markets Open During Coronavirus
March 19, 2020 – In communities nationwide, farmers and market managers are making the case for continuing to sell local food with precautions in place against COVID-19…“Over the last 15 to 20 years, farmers’ markets have been at the forefront of ensuring healthy food is available to all Americans and piloting innovative projects to make sure that happens,” said Ben Feldman, executive director of the Farmers Market Coalition (FMC), which works with markets around the country. “We’d hate to see that important work undermined by lack of clear guidance for farmers’ markets in terms of when they can be open and when they can’t.” [Read more]


DTN/The Progressive Farmer: Ag Policy Blog – Calls for Cattle Investigation Among COVID-19 Updates
March 19, 2020 – …The Farmers Market Coalition on Tuesday said Congress should direct USDA to develop an emergency disaster payment to small and beginning farmers selling fresh and minimally processed food through direct marketing channels such as farmers markets that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. [Read more]


FERN’s Ag Insider: As coronavirus spreads, farmers fear market closures and lost income
March 15, 2020 – Communities across the country are attempting to delay the spread of the novel coronavirus by canceling large events, closing schools, and banning large gatherings. But farmers who sell directly to consumers, through farmers’ markets or other channels, are concerned about how their farms will survive if those outlets temporarily shutter… “Farmers’ markets are essential activities for the economic livelihood of farmers and for food access for millions of Americans,” says Ben Feldman, executive director of the Farmers Market Coalition. “The closure of markets has the potential to bankrupt farmers and force people to go without food.” [Read more]


UN System Standing Committee on Nutrition Food Environments Report
An FMC article titled “Farmers markets as a strategy for improving food environments” (p.54) has recently been published in a UN System Standing Committee on Nutrition report about food environments. The full report explores the contexts in which consumers engage with the food system, while FMC’s article dives into the details of how farmers markets support healthy, prosperous communities. [Read the report]


Politico: Farmers market head into peak season coping with farm bill uncertainty
May 1, 2019 – Farmers market groups were bracing for a major setback in the months before top farm bill negotiators reached a compromise that triggered passage of a final bill in December. Advocates for the industry were relieved the final bill reflected the Senate’s approach, which they said included several key investments that will help the industry build on the hard-earned progress it has made in recent years to popularize farmers markets and expand their reach.

But now, three months after the 35-day lapse in USDA funding ended, farmers market operators find themselves in the same situation as all other sectors who rely on farm bill programs — waiting for the Agriculture Department to implement the law’s many provisions. “We were really thrilled to see the farm bill come through in its final form,” said Ben Feldman, policy director for the Farmers Market Coalition, an industry trade group. “But then we went straight into the government shutdown.” [Keep reading]


The Town Talk (USA Today): Institute Gives Market Managers Resources to Grow
February 7, 2019 – The Central Louisiana Economic Development Alliance hosted the Fresh Central Certified Institute on Friday and Thursday at the Holiday Inn in downtown Alexandria. Sagdrina Jalal, executive director of the Georgia Farmers Market Association, and Darlene Wolnik, senior research associate with the Farmers Market Coalition, led participants through workshops on messaging, mission, measurement and management of farmers markets. [Keep reading]


WGN Radio Chicago: The Farm Bill is Inching Closer to being Finalized
December 13, 2018 – The new U.S. Farm Bill has been on the radar for many Americans, and after a significant put off, the first part of the bill has been passed and Ben Feldman (Policy Director at The Farmers Market Coalition) broke down what will be a focal point for farmers, and consumers as the farm bill moves on to the next stage to be finalized. [Start interview at 19:00]


The American Prospect: The SNAP crisis at farmers market across the county
July 19, 2018 – SNAP benefits may not be accepted at many farmers markets this summer. If so, both farmers and low-income people will lose. [Keep reading]


Modern Farmer: Non-profit steps in as stop-gap to keep SNAP at farmers markets (for now)
July 19, 2018 – In response, the National Association of Farmers Market Nutrition Programs (NAFMNP) has stepped in to ease the transition by agreeing to support Novo Dia for 30 more days, hopefully allowing some kind of alternative (or change in policy) to emerge. [Keep reading]


Modern Farmer: Tens of thousands of people are about to lose the ability to use SNAP at farmers markets
July 10, 2018 – A seemingly minor change in governmental contract is about to have huge detrimental effects on the people least able to handle it—and at the worst possible time. [Keep reading]


Washington Post: Some food stamp recipients may soon lose access to farmers market benefits
July 9, 2018 – The Novo Dia Group, an Austin-based company that processes some 40 percent of SNAP transactions at farmers markets nationwide, said it will end its service by July 31, leaving about 1,700 of the more than 7,000 markets that offer SNAP with no way to serve low-income customers. [Keep reading]


Huffington Post: Is the Produce at the Farmers Market Local?
June 27, 2018 – States have different rules for what can be sold at farmers markets. [Keep reading]


WGN Radio Chicago: Direct Agricultural Marketing Summit
June 19, 2018 – The Farmers Market season is underway, but for farmers, the marketing side the business can be a daunting task. Steve Grzanich previewed the season and the first Direct Agricultural Marketing Summit with Jen Cheek (Executive Director at The Farmers Market Coalition) to learn about how farmers can find success through productive marketing. [Start interview at 4:34]


Wall Street Journal: Don’t Forget to Water the Logs: Mushrooms Are in for Home Gardens
June 11, 2018 – “Our growers are hearing it from chefs,” says Darlene Wolnik, senior research associate with the Farmer’s Market Coalition, a membership organization that represents 4,500 farmer’s markets. She says more farmers are taking on mushroom growing as they look to supplement traditional row crops. Mushrooms grow in shady land that is difficult to use otherwise. [Keep reading]


Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: How Can Pittsburgh’s Farmers Markets be Improved? A New Community Outreach Study Aims to Find Out
November 30, 2017 – Imagine walking through an urban square at 8 a.m. and seeing a just-opened farmers market with more than 30 vendors. Shoppers join chefs, some of them in whites, hustling through the market with boxes and wheelbarrows to buy produce before it sells out. The scene plays out in small and large cities around the country. Pittsburgh is not yet one of those cities. Access to local food is declining because some markets aren’t supported, farmers aren’t making enough money and too many fiefdoms make it more challenging to offer a range of high-quality ingredients.To examine the city’s farmers markets and where improvements can be made, the city planning commission has created the Farmers Market Study Community Outreach. [Keep reading]


Civil Eats: Farmers Markets are Beloved, but the Government May Cut Their Funding
October 30, 2017 – America’s current farm bill expires at the end of September 2018, leaving less than a year before lawmakers could begin to make cuts to a variety of federal programs affecting food and farming. And, despite America’s growing love for farmers’ markets, it’s looking unlikely that the Farmer Markets Promotion Program (FMPP) will be prioritized in the coming bill. [Keep reading]


Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Study Looks to Bolster Pittsburgh Farmers Markets
September 9, 2017 – A national nonprofit is about to study the nearly 30 farmers markets in Pittsburgh, looking to boost their business and impact across the city. “If the report is able to accomplish one goal, it would be that: more farmers reaching more customers in a way that makes money for farmers and gets as many Pittsburghers as possible to the markets,” said Alex Canepa, the research and education director at the Farmers Market Coalition. [Keep reading]


CityLab (The Atlantic): What’s the Future of the Urban Farmers Market?
September 5, 2017 – As grocery delivery ramps up, these bastions of local food are no longer offering something quite so unusual. Who is the model serving—and can it survive? [Keep reading]


USA Today: Farmers Markets Help Entrepreneurs Harvest Success
August 9, 2017 – Aug. 6-12 has been declared “National Farmers Market Week” by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a good reminder that if you want to help small American farmers survive, one of the best things you can do is shop at farmers markets. [Keep reading]


AccuWeather: 10 Surprising Foods in Season During Summer
August 8, 2017 – This week (Aug. 6-12) is National Farmers Market Week, a perfect time to head out and find some new and interesting foods to bring into your summer routine. [Keep reading]


Union of Concerned Scientists: 7 Fun Facts for National Farmers Market Week
August 4, 2017 – This Sunday marks the start of National Farmers Market Week, an annual celebration of local food systems. To get us in the mood, here are seven facts that illustrate the benefits of farmers markets and local food systems. [Keep reading]


Politico: The Federal Reserve Discusses Food and Economy
August 3, 2017 – The Federal Reserve and USDA are unveiling a new report today to showcase how local and regional food systems can help the economies of rural and urban communities, as well as increase access to healthier food and create a more productive workforce. The report is intended to signal that local food is no longer just for “foodies,” but instead is in high demand by consumers across the country and is ripe for investment and financing. [Keep reading]


KCBY 11: Coos Bay Farmers Market Celebrates National Farmers Market Week
August 1, 2017 – The Coos Bay Farmers Market is joining markets across the country in celebrating National Farmers Market Week August 6-12. “Farmers markets play a vital role not just in generating real income for farmers, but in forming healthy, prosperous food systems,” says Jen Cheek, Executive Director of the Farmers Market Coalition. [Keep reading]


Clark Fork Valley Press: Farmers Markets Yield Big Community Reward
July 26, 2017 – The farmers markets in Alberton and Superior are small, but they carry a big message about promoting healthy communities. Local residents can enjoy fresh locally grown foods and crafts and vendors get more value from direct sales. The community also benefits from more money being circulated through the local economy. [Keep reading]


The News-Gazette: Community Farmers Markets Support Health, Vitality
July 25, 2017 – For many, farmers’ markets represent a fun, social environment to interact with vendors and other marketgoers. Others see them as a way to connect with local growers and support local business, but many of us don’t often think about the vital role farmers’ markets play in supporting the health of communities. Not only do they link communities, families and individuals to fresh, whole foods that supply important nutrients we need to stay healthy; they also create points of access to healthy foods for families and individuals experiencing food insecurity. [Keep reading]


The Eagle Tribune: Fresh from the Farm – Outdoor Markets Blossoming in the Merrimack Valley
July 24, 2017 – This summer marks the first time in a very long time that every Merrimack Valley community will offer fresh local produce to residents through farmers markets, matching a statewide renaissance of the age-old tradition. [Keep reading]


NPR: What’s so great about local food? Let’s start with food security
June 22, 2017 – Ali Berlow and Elspeth Hay have been taking stock about why local food is important to them. They’ve talked about local food through a lens of economics, seasonality and now, security. [Keep reading]


Boulder Daily Camera: Lafayette Farmers Market returns with farmer incentive
June 6, 2017 – The Lafayette market — now under management with Boulder County Farmers Markets — is boasting a groundbreaking guaranteed-minimum sales program for participating farmers that will be funded by the Founding Members Program, wherein residents of Lafayette can become supporters of the market with a membership. [Keep reading]


Wicked Local Lexington: Lexington Farmers Market returns for 13th season
May 23, 2017 – The market also received a grant from the Farmer’s Market Coalition, a national organization that works to strengthen farmer’s markets as community assets, which provides funding for new equipment that will make EBT, or food stamps, transactions at the market run smoother. [Keep reading]


WGN Radio Chicago: Food assistance at Illinois farmers markets
May 17, 2017 – “If American tax dollars can simultaneously feed our hungry neighbors, and provide a source of income and demand for American produce, it really is a huge win-win.” [Listen]


Farm Credit: Good news, farmers markets transcend the urban/rural divide
February 7, 2017 – No matter how you voted on election day, chances are you’ve read a headline like this: “Election Highlights a Growing Rural/Urban Divide.” In all the post-election hubbub, media outlets from the New York Times to Fox News agreed on one thing—there’s a distinct divide between urban and rural Americans. [Keep reading]