Partnering for Community: Mother Earth News Fair and FMC

By: Cheyenne White, Mother Earth News Fair       Posted On: August 4, 2022

Mother Earth News Fair joins us this year as a National Farmers Market Week 2022 Sponsor and media partner with FMC throughout the year. We’re thrilled about this growing partnership and connecting with more consumers who are excited about farmers markets and support markets serving as essential assets in their communities. Learn more about our work together directly from our partners below! This article is written by Cheyenne White, Assistant Event Producer for Mother Earth News Fair.

Mother Earth News Fair in Belton, TX. Photos provided by MENF.

Self-sufficiency and sustainability skills are increasingly at the front of people’s minds, especially as the systems we may be used to relying on struggle under current chaotic conditions. From growing their own food to knowing where it comes from, people are finding ways to get involved in local and community food systems at a growing rate. As purveyors of educational content provided by experts in such fields, Mother Earth News Fair is aware of the need for such information and therefore keen on expanding the amount of content we can bring to our audience. 

Because of this, Mother Earth News Fair has been working with FMC to develop a partnership to share resources throughout the year. This partnership is an effort to expand the reach and impact of both organizations, helping people to learn about the food and farmers in their regions. Similar to Mother Earth News Fair events that teach skills to folks interested in being sustainable and self-sufficient, farmers markets are places where attendees can learn from farmers about where their food comes from and be among like-minded people who value local food.

The Mother Earth News Fair provides opportunities to learn money-saving hacks, health-boosting remedies, and environmental strategies from leading experts and entrepreneurs around the country. In addition to presentations and hands-on workshops, the FAIR features a vast marketplace abounding with innovative resources and products to enrich your life. With plenty of youth-oriented activities — including live animals — the FAIR is an event for the whole family! It is also a living and breathing marketplace where you can interact with exhibitors, authors, and innovators whose passion for what they do is matched only by their authority in the industry. With exhibitors that are ready and willing to demo and discuss a vast array of products that will help you live better, you can also shop the latest sustainable products, compare prices, and more. As such, the FAIR is a space for learning, building community, and pursuing your passion!

Similarly, the Farmers Market Coalition focuses on what they call a triple bottom line when supporting markets toward a goal of engaging with their communities:

  • Farmers earn fair prices for the fruits of their labor by selling directly to consumers.
  • Consumers gain access to fresh, nutritious, local produce.
  • Communities regain a figurative “town square,” experiencing the many positive outcomes of foot traffic and community connection.

Just as the FAIR works to bring in experts from all backgrounds and expertise fields, FMC works with markets of all sizes toward their triple bottom line to benefit farmers, consumers, and communities. Both the Mother Earth News Fair and FMC focus on the communities and local networks that create thriving and sustainable food systems. With such goals in common, this partnership is an exciting opportunity for further development toward organization goals on both sides!

Beyond what is offered in-person, Mother Earth News Fair’s growing emphasis on interactive programming means you don’t have to be on-site to learn as, regardless of location, educational opportunities are available through the FAIR ONLINE. Similarly, FMC’s staff are located all over the country, with FMC serving as a central hub from which to locate allies, identify and share best practices, and positively impact public policy pertaining to farmers markets. With resources online such as the Farmers Market Legal Toolkit, a SNAP EBT Guide, state-by-state resources, a FMC Networking Listserv, and much more, the Farmers Market Coalition provides information necessary to get involved in the wonderful world of farmers markets in a more equitable manner.

Mother Earth News Fair in action in Linn County, Oregon.

MENF is also excited to partner with FMC for their anti-racist initiatives, such as The Anti-Racist Farmers Market Toolkit, an important initiative that strives to make marginalized communities part of an equitable local food system. FMC funded and provides support for The Anti-Racist Farmers Market Toolkit, promoting its dissemination on their website. This toolkit was developed by a team of Black food systems experts from across the country over the course of a year. Intended to be a living document, this toolkit is focused on system-level changes that can shift the culture of farmers markets toward one that is anti-racist by combating White supremacy and racism as a whole in farmers market settings and is aimed at the needs and context of farmers market managers specifically. More info about the toolkit can be found on the website as well.

It’s an exciting time for MENF and FMC as we continue to provide resources and support for communities and individuals interested in getting involved in their local systems. In 2023, the Mother Earth News Fair will be coming to Belton, Texas, February 18-19; Lawrence, Kansas, April 29-30; and Erie, Pennsylvania, July 15-16. The Farmers Market Coalition continues to support farmers market operators and markets across the nation, working to create safe and welcoming spaces for all community members and sustain markets in the long term. With events such as National Farmers Market Week, FMC is providing opportunities for farmers markets to be recognized for their work and creativity.

FAIRs and farmers markets are both brilliant gathering spaces for individuals to meet others outside of their regular circle in a space based on common interests and passions. These connections shared in localized spaces are great ways to network and bring community together, whether that community is focused on a geographic space or common passions (or both!). Find your community and come visit us at the FAIR!

About the author: Cheyenne White is an Assistant Event Producer for MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR. With a Master of Arts in Popular Culture and a longtime interest in sustainability, Cheyenne is fascinated by the intersections between daily life and systemic patterns. Working for MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR since June 2021, Cheyenne has seen first-hand how community is built around common passions when people gather at FAIR events.