On Thursday, April 26th , the Senate Agriculture Committee approved a Farm Bill with a 16-5 vote, after a series of difficult choices and bipartisan compromise. The Farmers Market Coalition commends the committee, led by Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, (D-Michigan) and Ranking Member Pat Roberts, (R-Kansas), for their efforts to take long-needed steps to reform and improve the nation’s food policy.
Six weeks from today, the Farmers Market Coalition will celebrate its sixth anniversary. So it’s with a great sense of purpose that today, I am announcing the launch of FMC’s 2012 Spring Campaign. Between now and this special anniversary on June 6th, the board has a goal of raising $20,000 to help FMC start its next fiscal year on the right foot. The Farmers Market Coalition is not a coalition without the investment of everyone who wants to see farmers markets grow stronger and more sustainable with every season. This is why I volunteer my time with FMC, and why I make a contribution every year to support a voice for this important national movement.
…The Farmers Market Promotion Program would increase to $20 million per year for 2013 to 2017, and become the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program, to develop, improve, expand, and provide outreach, training, and technical assistance for
(A) Direct producer-to-consumer market opportunities; and
(B) Local and regional food enterprises that process, distribute, aggregate, store, and market locally or regionally produced food products.
As the sentiments that inspired Occupy Wall Street live in the hearts of those lucky enough to work daily in support of viable local economies, I am proud to announce that this spring, FMC is putting its money where its mouth is. After significant research led by FMC’s Past President and acting Treasurer Sharon Yeago, and a unanimous vote by the full board, FMC is officially moving its money from Bank of America to New Resource Bank (NRB).
Beginning April 25th, FMC will begin a six week countdown to its sixth anniversary (June 6), and invites anyone with an interest in seeing farmers markets thrive to join the party. During FMC’s Annual Spring Campaign, FMC will be celebrating by offering a unique spectrum of special thank you gifts for those who donate to support the mission of strengthening farmers markets. Every Wednesday during the annual campaign, an FMC board members will announce another special offer, including limited edition gifts like autographed copies of Nikki McClure’s inspiring children’s book To Market, To Market, …
FMC has just created a Farmers Market Advocate’s Toolkit designed to provide guidance in communicating to legislators the importance of farmers markets. It’s easy to run from words like “lobbying” and “legislator” but its important to remember that you are the expert here. This toolkit consists of a series of one-pagers to help you communicate that local food system expertise to those who need to hear it most.
What is the best method for a busy organizer to know how many shoppers stream in and out of those hidden passageways between tents? Or how much and what kinds of products they might actually be purchasing? After shopper and vendor numbers are established, more expansive measurements might be needed, such as the increase in healthy food production or the addition of jobs. Perhaps the market was organized to increase farmland use, or its partners are interested in the quality of educational events offered, or the degree to which neighboring businesses (or the city’s parking meters!) benefit from the traffic brought to the market area. Each of these questions that lead to data collection at the market is called an indicator in the parlance of funders or researchers. For a market searching for ways to define success of a funded project or to convince their municipality that market activity matters, the first step is to understand which indicator should be chosen and how to use it.
FMC members have been highlighted at Senate and House events this spring. FMC board member Caroline Todd, Director of the Columbia Farmers Market (MO), explained at a Senate briefing on March 1st how the market used a Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) grant to get an electronic benefit transfer machine (EBT) to serve SNAP participants, conduct an extensive publicity campaign to low-income families. and open new satellite market sites. A summary of the March 1st hearing, which also included testimony from Oran Hesterman of FMC member Fair Food Network, is available here on the NSAC web site.
FMC and Jarden Home Brands, makers of Ball® Brand Fresh Preserving Products, are gearing up for the 2012 season of this canning education program and want to invite your market to take part. With more than 500 canning demonstrations at last year’s participating markets, Discover You Can helped dozens of FMC members meet their…
As pop up tents triumph over open asphalt this season, market managers have the responsibility to keep a bird’s eye view on food safety and customer satisfaction. If your market has specific food safety rules, or if certain producers become GAPs certified, let customers know on your websites, or at your information table. Building and maintaining trust is an ongoing, proactive process as consumers become more educated and concerned about food safety practices. Farmers should be encouraged by market managers to create food safety plans, which need not be much more complicated than documentation of every day common sense.