What’s Up for 2022

By: Darlene Wolnik       Posted On: February 16, 2022

Conducting visitor counts.

Many of you have noticed and commented approvingly on the expansion of the FMC team in the last year. We now have 10 team members which will expand to 12 in 2022 — so keep an eye out for job announcements this spring. Also, anyone interested in providing curated, short-term contracted training to market leaders on FMC’s projects, please fill out our new Provider Registry Form.

As someone who has been associated with FMC since its inception, this expansion has been a thrilling development, especially since the team is so impressive.

Essentially, the bulk of the team’s work on deliverables is under funding for the Farmers Market Support Program. As my recent blog post outlined, the “FM Support Program” is what we have renamed the Training and Technical Assistance Program. This new name and structure more accurately reflects the variety of work our team does for farmers markets (and for other direct-to-consumer channels under our GusNIP contract), focuses on expanding the knowledge base among a more diverse set of leaders in the sector, and correctly identifies market operators as the experts in the field.

Like many non-profit organizations, FMC works hard to create a balanced portfolio of funders for our program work that includes federal and state grants, contracts to do specific work for farmers markets and partner entities, increase income-generating activities like our Metrics software and offer opportunities for sponsor partnerships during National Farmers Market Week.

The project list below is not comprehensive, but offers an illustration of what the FM Support team is working on, especially in the first half of 2022. 



The Local and Regional Food System Recovery and Resilience Project

USDA LRFS COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Project: Sharing the materials we helped to collect and create in 2021 with markets and partners in need of resources and analysis for emergency situations. Housed at the LRFS COVID Recovery and Resilience project site.

Promoting Farmers Markets Impacts: Building Local and State Level Capacity for Data: This is FMC’s new FMPP-funded project that will build annual communication partnerships with 5 state farmers market associations (AK, CO, IL, MN, VT) while assisting them with capacity building, 

GusNIP NTAE: As the lead facilitator for the Farm Direct (FD) Nutrition Incentive Hub for all GusNIP grantees and potential applicants, FMC continues to assign, track, and oversee all technical requests among all grantees, while also working on efforts to support potential grantees. FMC is also developing an approach to working with grantees and potential grantees over multiple seasons which we term “Holistic TA” and once refined, hope to implement with our other projects.

The Hub’s FD Technology Team (FMC’s Katie Myhre, Joe Lesausky of MIFMA and Lucy Asako Boltz of Ecology Center) is working on supporting e-Token pilots at farmers market sites through a new 2022 Communities of Practice (CoP).

Another standout CoP is the energetic and dynamic state-funding cohort that includes grantees working on either beginning or continuing their efforts for state-level nutrition incentive funding over the next few legislative cycles. This CoP works closely with our fellow TA facilitator that ably leads the support for brick and mortar efforts for all GN Grantees in the Hub, the  National Grocers Association Foundation (NGAF).

National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA): The NRPA-FMC work has been a multi-year partnership supported by different funders that illustrates how deeply NRPA is committed to building support networks for parks and recreation departments working on programmatic and systemic changes across health and wellness, equity, and conservation.

FMC is contracted to assist NRPA with their 2021 FMPP “Increasing Access to Farmers Market through Local Parks and Recreation” project  to provide ongoing and detailed direct operational and programmatic support to their market partners in 3 states.

The Ohio State University and Ohio Farmers Market Network (OSU/OFMN): The NCR-SARE fundedCreating a Culture of Data Collection and Use for Ohio Farmers Markets” is an exciting multi-year project to lead training and discussions with farmers market leaders, farmers, and Extension Educators on the many evaluation strategies in use at farmers markets and how these efforts can be better supported.

Texas Center for Local Food (TCLF): FMC is thrilled to be working with its farmers market state partner TCLF on 2 projects: (1) FMPP Project Contributing to a collaborative, iterative online course for market operators and (2) SNAP Project advising TCLF on its strategy to increase the sale of Texas-grown fruits and vegetable sales using SNAP dollars.

1890s/VegU Pilot Support: Leading the dissemination of the RFP to appropriate market partners and managing the  AMS/FMC project and its partnership. Providing direct one-on-one and facilitated support to the selected universities on their market development.

Conflict Resolution for VT and Maine FM Operators: Assisting MFFM in leading and managing the project and meetings.

Resource Development:

Homepage of the Farm Direct Nutrition Incentives Guide

Promoting Farmers Markets Impacts: Building Local and State Level Capacity for Data FMPP Project: FMC will create a set of pages hosted on our website that offer comprehensive and versatile evaluation resources for markets to use at no cost.

GusNIP NTAE: Year 3 of this work is focused on disseminating the hundreds of resources we have collected or helped to create on our new site found at: farmdirectincentives.guide. New resources for TA providers and toolkits for farm direct sites to prioritize anti-racist strategies are also in development by FMC’s partners this year. 

In early 2022, the Hub’s FD Technology Team will publish a new resource that discusses E-token software options available to farmers markets, as well as a glossary of terms related to all things technology, from online SNAP to e-tokens. 

The Ohio State University and Ohio Farmers Market Network (OSU/OFMN): Collecting case studies from market operators on the culture of data collection and use in Ohio in each region. Next, we will add feedback from market farmers on how they use data and what they could use from their market partners. This database and case studies will become a vital tool for funders and markets in future years in the state.

Texas Center for Local Food (TCLF) FMPP: New resources for the online courses for TX markets include an updated Metrics Table, and new exercises for market teams to use to plan their evaluation strategy.

1890 Institutions Market Expansion/USDA VegU Pilot Support: Providing new or collected resources for selected universities to introduce or expand a farmers market to serve its institution.

Conflict Resolution for VT and Maine FM Operators: Assist in lesson plan development for the VT and Maine FM operators, collection of materials on conflict resolution appropriate to farmers markets.

Sector Analysis:

GusNIP NTAE: Supporting NTAE Lead Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition’s evaluation work leading to reports such as this one for Year 2

LRFS COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Project: FMC has proudly participated in the LRFS COVID Recovery and Resilience project for both rounds of activity. This round is focused on creating collaborative public tools such as a data warehouse for sectors to share work on measurement and to be able to offer more analysis across local and regional food system (LRFS) marketing channels. 

FMC’s Technology Research Team has partnered with Colorado State and USDA/AMS under the LRFS COVID Recovery and Resilience project to conduct online sales platform analysis. Through this work, “Sector Snapshots” will highlight how farmers markets utilized innovative online sales platforms to help farmers and shoppers maintain safe access to each other during COVID-19. 

Northside Farmers Market Cincinnati OH (FMPP): FMC to provide analysis using data collected by the market and community partners for NFM to gain a better understanding of their market and the surrounding farmers market system’s strengths and weaknesses to better determine next steps for future growth.

The Ohio State University and Ohio Farmers Market Network (OSU/OFMN): Conducting analysis of the resources and collection approaches at work among Ohio’s farmers markets for our OH and regional partners.

Promoting Farmers Markets Impacts: Building Local and State Level Capacity for Data FMPP Project: FMC will use data already gathered by markets and networks in the project’s selected 5 state partners (AK, CO, IL, MN, VT) to analyze regions and market types and to build a Census format with state and network farmers market leaders to share.

Early in the year, we hope to publish our initial thinking on the newly arranged FMLFPP indicators that will be included with the 2022 RFP.

Texas Center for Local Food (TCLF) SNAP: Sharing data and analysis of approaches from other regions to increase the sales of TX grown fruits and vegetables with SNAP dollars at farmers markets across the state.

1890 Institutions Market Expansion/USDA VegU Pilot Support: In partnership with USDA AMS, analyzing these pilots to assess further support to Minority Serving Institutions in market development and in expanding the use of the Veg U Curriculum using the pilot process.

Conflict Resolution for VT and Maine FM Operators: Use the project to assess the need for added support in this area for market operators across the region and U.S.

Product Development:

Homepage of Farmers Market Metrics Guide

Metrics Software: Our evaluation software continues to be developed according to the needs of accountholders, including working with other software developers to create API so data entered into one system can be used in another. Manage My Markets and Marketwurks are the first 2 partners that have stepped up to work with FMC on this for our shared users. FM Tracks is our next partner priority in sharing data across platforms.

GusNIP NTAE: The FD Tech Team continues to meet 1:1 with developers who are actively building solutions for the farmers market sector, helping inform the decisions they make about design features and providing input and/or introductions to farmers markets when appropriate. In 2022, our team has already met with FarmShoppr, Soko App, and Snap2Save. 

Although only tangentially related to GusNIP, FMC keeps an eye on the online SNAP farmers market pilot led by USDA FNS/NAFMNP Marketlink program. 

Project Managers for the projects listed above:

Rachael Ward: rachael@farmersmarketcoalition.org

  • TCLF- SNAP Project

Diana Broadaway: diana@farmersmarketcoalition.org

  • FMC FMPP: Promoting Farmers Markets Impacts: Building Local and State Level Capacity for Data
  • USDA LRFS COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Project
  • TCLF- FMPP Project
  • AMS Partnership: Increasing Food Access Through Implementation of Farmers Markets on Minority Serving Institutions and Supporting USDA Farmers Market VegU Style Produce Based Nutrition, Education, and Food Demonstration program at U.S. Farmers Markets

Dar Wolnik: darlene@farmersmarketcoalition.org

  • Metrics Software
  • Northside Farmers Market Cincinnati OH (FMPP)
  • The Ohio State University/OFMN Data Project
  • NESARE Professional Development Program: Reducing Tensions on Market Day: Training Farmers Market Organizers and Service Providers on Conflict (Maine and Vermont)

Look for more details on other 2022 projects once more contracts are signed and thumbnail descriptions are confirmed. 

FMC is always interested in providing more support to farmers markets and for market networks so check in with me or our Executive Director to discuss these opportunities.