Training and Technical Assistance 2020

      Posted On: January 14, 2020

In November of 2019, I accepted the brand-new position of Training and Technical Assistance Director at FMC and in December, began to build the T&TA team. With this evolution, FMC can offer sustained new training programs for market operators and more fully support existing training programs, seek and create additional desperately needed resources and templates, and assist with analysis of our field, all with the goal to build capacity for farmers market operators.

Here is some of what we will be focusing on in the coming year:

Training/Technical Assistance

-Provide SNAP Training and Technical Assistance to Federal GusNIP Grantees

Under the leadership of the Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition, the brand-new Training and Technical Assistance Hub for GusNiP grantees is taking shape. Fair Food Network will oversee the design, implementation, and measurement of TA for both Farm Direct (FD) and brick-and-mortar stores. GSCN and FFN have begun to reach out to grantees and schedule site visits to find their needs for TA.  FMC will lead the Farm Direct portion of the TA (including how to ensure measurement and future design of these programs takes market capacity in account) with Ecology Center (EC) and Michigan Farmers Market Association (MIFMA) as the main TA providers.

The work will also offer necessary analysis in the areas of additional technology for processing SNAP and incentives, review successes from past and present grantee reports and strategies for strengthening these incentive network partnerships. If you are a present grantee, check the Fair Food Network site to learn more.

FMC is also contracting with a variety of markets and market partners to provide direct technical assistance on market operations, outreach, program development, and analysis. Fill out the TA request form for FMC’s TA services if you have a specific need and support.

-Professional Development for Ohio Farmers Market Managers and OSU Extension Educators on Creating a Culture of Data Collection for Sustainability Planning for Markets and Farmers (SARE)

This 3-year effort, led by Ohio State University, will allow FMC to assist the Ohio Farmers Market Network and OSU in working with market managers and Extension Educators on data collection systems, forming deeper collaborations to make the case for more support for farmers markets and direct-to-consumer farmers.

Other training opportunities include work in central Louisiana and partnerships with our State and Network Leaders through workshops at their conferences.

With much more to come soon…

Data Collection

-Metrics and beyond

In 2019, FMC surveyed a cross-section of markets to find out what the issues and the successes on evaluation  and how FMC could help.  This help will take a few different forms:

  1. Continue to offer relevant resources and templates on data collection methods and strategies useful for low-capacity market operations
  2. Refine the software for market operators currently available through subscriptions to Metrics.
  3. Offer one-on-one technical assistance and offline analysis and reporting for networks and funders working with markets.

Check out our farmersmarketmetrics.guide site for downloadable resources and information on how market organizations can become subscribers and how networks can request our help. Our Metrics Coordinator, Erica Anderson, will be sharing more detailed plans on this work in an upcoming blog post.

Resources

One of the big successes in 2019 was the unveiling of the Farmers Market Legal Toolkit, created through an AFRI grant and led by Vermont Law School’s Center for Agriculture and Food Systems (CAFS), Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA-VT) and FMC.

The discussions and feedback received via  the contact form on the site and in the many workshops offered at conferences in 2019 have been very rewarding. Based on the discussions on our listserv and direct requests for more resources on other legal issues not yet covered, the team secured funding to build out more components. Look for this new content later in 2020 and 2021, but in the meantime, let us know if we can present the toolkit at your conference, or via webinar. We’d love to add the link to the Toolkit to as many sites that include resources for markets and market vendors, so use the contact form on the site to let us know if you want to add it to yours.

Other Resources

The SNAP guide remains one of our most popular resources and we will continue to refine this as new technology and best practices are shared with us.

When I run into members and market operators, the National Farmers Market Week set of resources gets the most positive feedback. With the materials we provide each August, we will continue to reflect our added TA support, both through adding analysis and also in highlighting the success of market operators and programs to support farm businesses, cottage food entrepreneurs and craft artisans.

All of these projects will also add resources to the Library. But remember- ours is a peer-sharing library, so please submit your excellent examples too!

Analysis 

In 2019, we shared our report completed for the City of Pittsburgh. In 2020, we will be contracted to do similar analysis at the municipal, regional, and national level by market type, by goals, by programs, by age, size, and mission. More on those projects soon.

You can also find regular analysis on our blog and reports such as this example from FINI Year 1, or the analysis we did of focus group work among FMSSG grantees.

Please also check out the FAQs for managers (which is due for some added content soon!)

As I hope is clear,  FMC has an ambitious plan for supporting market operators and their partners through training and technical assistance. We always welcome more partnerships and ideas for this work so use the TA form or email me directly with other ideas.

We hope to see you at a workshop or on a webinar very soon.

Darlene Wolnik