“I acknowledged that farm workers were seldom given the spotlight, I saw this as an opportunity to honor the hard work of my parents, and farm workers all over the country,” Gonzalez told ATTN:. “They are the hardest working people in the world, and hardly ever are given the dignity and respect they deserve. I needed them to see, this wasn’t simply my success, this was a success of 22 years in the fields, this was all them.”
well. This article linked below is a shot over the bow to those using the farm to table purely as marketing, and in some cases, using farmers names without having a regular relationship with them. The lack of clarity as to what Farm To Table means is one issue that local activists should shoulder; it should not be a single definition globally, but the rules for level of transparency in that process should be the same everywhere.
A recent study found that people ingest as many as 11,000 plastic particles per year in their food, and that those who eat a lot of seafood may be consuming much more than that.
Orion Magazine writer Jourdan Imani Keith is a playwright, naturalist, educator, and storyteller whose work blends the textures of political, personal and natural landscapes to offer voices from the margins of American lives. In the latest issue of Orion Magazine she gives a personal view about ingesting particles of man-made items in seafood:
My tongue has not yet been able to discern cosmetics in my curried mussels or plastic pearls in my oysters, but in 2013 researchers in Belgium at Ghent University found that microplastics are present in food consumed by humans. The study showed that some Europeans eat as many as eleven thousand plastic particles per year. Coastal Salish tribes, Asians, and Asian Pacific Islanders in Washington State, and all who eat lots of fish and seafood, like I do, may also be consuming more microplastics than others. The potential risks for human health have not been studied. We don’t tend to think of plastics as part of our diet, but by the time they make it to our plates, it’s hard to say they haven’t become part of our food web.
Great article linked below along with a salient excerpt about placemaking which is something all market organizations should know a little about.
We essentially believe that a creative placemaking project needs to have four basic parts:
First, the work needs to be ultimately place-based, meaning that there is a group of people who live and work in the same place. It can be a block, a neighborhood, a town, a city, or a region, but you need to be able to draw a circle around it on a map.
Next, you need to talk about the community conditions for all of the people who live in that place and identify some community development change that that group of people would like to see: a problem with housing that needs to be fixed; an opportunity with a new transportation infrastructure that needs to be seized; a problematic narrative around public safety that needs to be changed. (There are ten categories of community development changes that we currently track.)
Third is when the “creative” comes into play: how can artists, arts organizations, or arts activity help achieve the change that has been articulated for this group of people?
And, finally, since these are projects that explicitly set out to make a change, there needs to be a way of knowing whether the change has happened. Some people call this “project evaluation.” We simply say it is important to know when you can stop doing something, cross it off your list, and move on to the next thing.
Here is the link to the USDA jobs vacancy announcement for up to 3 agricultural marketing specialists (research) that was published this morning and closes next Thursday. In addition, please note that applications are being capped after the first 40 received!!
Since 2002 or so, my public market focus has really been two-fold: designing grassroots markets and creating replicable ways to measure and share their success. Both are necessary in order for markets to remain at the fulcrum of viable and equitable food systems. And THAT means that the desire for programs and funding to create long-term stability and build professional skills must be integral to the field (which includes markets partners), which is far from the case as of yet.
One way we will get there is by capturing data that explains shared success measures while still illustrating innovative and unique approaches in each place. I am honored to be the eyes and ears for Farmers Market Coalition (FMC) and its partners on their Farmers Market Metrics work which we hope will serve those ends. I am in the middle of a summer of travel to sites to observe actual data collection at markets using the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s data collection protocols in the Indicators for Impacts AFRI-funded project shared with FMC and whenever possible, to stop at other markets to view their data collection too.
One of the big bugaboos seems to be in doing direct data collection with visitors or vendors; on a side note, it occurs to me as I write this how rarely I see Dot Surveys (or as we redefined them, Bean Polls!) any longer. Seemed to me that markets did them constantly in years past, but they may have began to decline for the same reasons I made the Bean Poll; vagaries of weather, managing blow-y pieces of paper and light-as-air easels outside, keeping track of previous hours responses etc. Let me stop for a minute to be clear: Bean Polls can only be used in very specific instances as described in the link above. Don’t think I mean that they can be used to collect sensitive data or replace intercept surveys-they cannot. But they can introduce the community to regular data collection and offer a mood of the day response about possible trends. I wonder if the lack of Dot Survey I see is an indicator of something retreating in data collection at market level, or if I just show up at the wrong time…
And counting visitors- I don’t think I’ve ever suggested to a market that they should count their visitors regularly without them telling me it was near to or outright impossible. Okay, that maybe an overstatement, but I have heard that exact phrase quite often! I respect the low-capacity efficiency of markets, but I do think every market can do good Counting Days and I continue to dream up new ways that counting can be done without a slew of volunteers or paid staff. If anyone is up for trying them out, contact me at dar wolnik at gmail; but do know, it’ll require some planning…
In any case, what I see out there already are some very good systems for data collection that will probably work for small and large markets and everyone in between. As soon as those systems are tested and able to be replicated you’ll hear about it.
The Farmers Market Coalition website hosts the resources and updates for all the Farmers Market Metrics work, so do check in there for more information.
And if you missed it, here is an account to my first market visit: Hernando Mississippi.
Next: Ruston LA, Williamsburg VA and Takoma Park MD (Crossroads)
Please click on the first photo to view the gallery. My apologies to my Facebook followers who have seen most if not all of these pictures.