Category: Public Policies

Farmers Market Sustainability — Obstacles and Strategies

Evaluation | Management and Operations | Public Policies

This report, initiated by the City of Seattle for the Regional Food Policy Council, identifies obstacles faced by Seattle farmers markets and recommends strategies for overcoming them. Data was obtained through four monthly meetings of a working group comprised of farmers market organizers, City of Seattle staff, and other stakeholders. The Report also identifies best practices from around the United States.

Published July 25, 2014 Publisher Website Download Resource PublicationReportState & Local Policy

Researching Farmer Characteristics and Strategically Deploying the Data

Evaluation | Public Policies | State Association Development

Webinar Q&A (pdf)

Farmers markets are nothing without farmers. And even within a single market, these producers have diverse backgrounds, defying generalizations. Understanding their characteristics, motivations, and needs is critical in order to continually improve market operations, measure market outcomes, and be accountable to organizational missions. Colleen Donovan, researcher on a comprehensive statewide analysis of farmers markets with Washington State University, leads her presentation on this webinar with an overview of findings from a recent statewide vendor survey, followed by practical advice on how to better understand farmers market producers and use findings in a range of important contexts.

Colleen Donovan, Small Farms Program, Washington State University
Colleen has worked with farmers in Washington State since 2003 and coordinated farmers market research for the Washington State University’s Small Farms Program and Farmers Market Action Team since 2010. She co-authored the “Washington State Farmers Market Management Toolkit” with Karen Kinney in 2012. Colleen serves on the board of the Washington State Farmers Market Association and was named the “2011 Advocate of the Year” by the Tilth Producers of Washington. She has a B.S. from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo; MA in Geography from the University of Washington.

Darlene Wolnik is a food system consultant, focused on researching and analyzing entrepreneurial systems such as farmers markets and other direct and indirect sales outlets for regional food producers. Since 2001, she has been working on farmers markets and food systems, first as the Deputy Director at Market Umbrella in New Orleans and then since 2011, as an independent consultant for over three-dozen projects across the country, including an 2013 analysis of Vermont’s farmers market currency programs and an upcoming report on direct market farming in Mississippi.

Published December 09, 2013 Publisher Website PresentationReport

Catalyzing Change: What can we learn from FMPP’s activities and impacts?

Public Policies | SNAP/EBT and Nutrition Programs

What role does USDA’s Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) play in growing stronger, healthier, more innovative and inclusive food systems? Last fall, FMC embarked on an evaluation to assess the impacts of FMPP since its inception in 2006, with more than 200 organizations responding to a survey of grantees. Stacy Miller, director of the research project, shares highlights from FMC and Market Umbrella’s published report and case studies. This webinar features a review of grant impacts on agriculture, food access, professional development, and organizational capacity as well as general recommendations beyond FMPP. Past grantees share their lessons learned and and answer questions about their projects and efforts to make most efficient use of grant funds and evaluate community outcomes specific to their project goals.

Farmers Market Promotion Program Grant Activities & Impacts Report 2006–2011
Farmers Market Promotion Program Summary of Analysis & Recommendations, a green paper

About the presenters:

Stacy Miller, Project Director of the Farmers Market Coalition
Glen Hill, Executive Director of the Minnesota Food Association, presents their 2009 FMPP project that supported organic farmer training and mentoring, and helped immigrant and refugee growers create markets directly, forging a viable marketing portfolio
Elizabeth Borst, Manager of the Spotsylvania Farmers Market, explains the successes and lessons learned from a 2011 FMPP project that created The Farmers, a regional collaboration to create a uniform EBT scrip system for four markets in Virginia

Published December 09, 2013 Download Resource Presentation

Farm Bill for Farmers Markets

Public Policies


Powerpoint Slideshow

The Farm Bill is one giant, overwhelming, piece of legislation. To highlight key aspects during this important phase of the Farm Bill timeline, on May 22, 2012, FMC presented a member webinar on the Farm Bill, tailored for farmers markets.

Kate Fitzgerald, policy adviser, clarifies the often-confusing farm bill process, explain key provisions for farmers markets included in the Senate’s Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act, and helps advocates engage in the process as the House of Representatives takes up farm bill legislation.

Natalie Roper and Stacy Miller walk-through the FMC advocacy toolkit, and every attendee will is shown how to take immediate action, with the help of some simple tools.

Kate Fitzgerald initiated the Food Assistance Program in the Texas Department of Agriculture, where she organized SNAP at certified farmers markets in low-income communities and designed a Farmers Market Coupon Program for WIC participants and seniors that was a model for the now well-established USDA FMNP.

In 1993, Kate founded the Sustainable Food Center (SFC) in Austin, Texas. Kate later served as Senior Policy Associate at the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition in Washington, DC, working on 2008 Farm Bill implementation, appropriations, food safety and child nutrition legislation in 2009 and 2010. In 2010, she joined Global Strategic Partners, representing organizations working on sustainable and organic agriculture, public health, and economic development through food enterprises. She works on policy development and implementation on the national level.

Published December 07, 2013 Presentationvideo

West Virginia Farmers Market Regulations

Farm Business and Marketing | Food Safety and Handling | Public Policies

The Farmers Market Vendor Guide was developed to provide standards, guidelines and consistent information for farmers, food vendors and sanitarians to provide fresh, safe and quality food to the consumer. The Farmers Market Vendor Guide offers advice on food items that may be sold and conditions that must be met at the point of sale. The Farmers Market Vendor Guide represents a collaborative effort of the West Virginia Departments of Health and Human Resources (WVDHHR), Agriculture (WVDA), the Farmers Market Association and other members of the Food Safety and Food Defense Task Force.

Published December 04, 2013 Download Resource PublicationState & Local Policy

Land Use Protections for Farmers’ Markets

Public Policies

This guide provides an overview of farmers’ market policy issues and community tested best practices. It also features a set of complementary model land use policies for comprehensive plans and zoning ordinances.

Published December 01, 2013 Publisher Website Download Resource

Farmers Market Report for King County, Washington

Management and Operations | Public Policies

Requested by the King County Council, this report identifies many of the challenges impacting farmers markets’ financial viability and future success and identifies some of the solutions that would help strengthen their operations and facilitate farmer access to the markets.

Published December 01, 2013 Publisher Website Download Resource ReportState & Local Policy

6050W and Farmers Markets Electronic Payment Reporting Requirements

Public Policies | SNAP/EBT and Nutrition Programs | Vendor Fees and Market Finances

A webinar hosted by FMC and the Michigan Farmers Market Association in October of 2011.The presentation explains the background of IRS 6050W and what electronic payment reporting requirements can mean for your farmers market. Presenters include Amanda Segar of the Michigan Farmers Market Association, Erin McQuire, Legislative Assistant for U.S. Representative Chellie Pingree, and Stacy Miller of the Farmers Market Coalition. Best practices for scrip recordkeeping are highlighted. If unsure about your reporting obligations, please consult with a professional tax advisor.

Published November 11, 2013 Publisher Website Download Resource Presentation

Findings and Reflections from Listening Sessions of Oregon’s Healthy Eating and Farmers Markets Project

Evaluation | Public Policies | SNAP/EBT and Nutrition Programs

Using a social determinants of health framework, this research from the Oregon Public Health Institute included farmers market tours, listening sessions and focus groups  to understand perceptions about product variety, price, quality, and understanding of food assistance programs among low-income and minority residents in Multnomah County.  The report includes participant quotes.

Published November 10, 2013 Publisher Website Download Resource

Mapping Competition Zones for Vendors and Customers in U.S. Farmers Markets.

Evaluation | Public Policies

This study concludes that the relatively small customer travel distances suggest that managers will probably need to focus their marketing efforts on getting a greater share of food spending within the zones from which they already draw customers.

“Differentiation from competitors may improve market survival. Operating on different days from nearby markets or on multiple days or for longer seasons, developing a unique marketing mix of items, and focusing on location specific amenities such as parks, water features, and complementary shopping outlets are all ways to distinguish a market from its rivals and appeal to a broader range of customers. On the other hand, cooperative efforts among managers to coordinate operating schedules and market features may also be used to encourage vendors and customers to support a group of farmers markets in a region.”
Published November 10, 2013 Publisher Website Download Resource PublicationReport