Truth & Transparency: Farm Audits for Producer-Only Integrity | Farmers Market Coalition

An excellent webinar today from Farmers Market Coalition on one of California’s farm audit programs. Impressive how much our low-capacity markets are doing to safeguard their mission and values and to protect producers.

Find the recording here.

Employment with Farmers Market Coalition

Two great 40-hour/wk job postings with Farmers Market Coalition are being offered: an EBT Program Associate and an Education Program Associate. The programs for these positions have enormous potential to become pillars of FMC’s national work for many years to come, so please spread the word to as many corners of the community food system to allow them the opportunity to get the best staff possible. I can personally vouch that this organization has an excellent work environment staffed with dedicated and delightful folks.
Link to FMC website

In Head-Hunting, Big Data May Not Be Such a Big Deal –

In the geeky world of data and analysis of markets that I live in most of the time, the article linked below was like candy. And it reminds me that sometimes data tells you to just trust your own knowledge about people.
The upshot  of this relies on an old adage that a seriously smart boss told me 35 years ago: “hire attitude, train skill.” That means so many things, but at its most basic means don’t waste your time trying to find indicators of later success by asking for tales of past success or levels of education among applicants (if not crucial to the work at hand), but instead know what the right attitude is for the job. For example, if it requires managing a market with a wide age span among vendors, then knowing how that person feels about people older or younger than them is key. Using behavioral questions can bring you closer to finding the set of skills that you need for your market or business.

Give us an example of a time you learned something from a coworker or colleague who was younger than you.

What would be your response if someone you worked with told you they never read emails or allow texts?

And that for leadership, the best measures are how consistent and fair the person is. Not how smart or hard-working or even fun that person is, but how fairly they treat everyone. This is true of a manager of staff and it is true of a manager of a market.

And on the employee side, it is crucial that the employees of a market are consistently and fairly evaluated on a regular basis. Everyone needs feedback on their work.


In Head-Hunting, Big Data May Not Be Such a Big Deal –

Jaime Lerner’s “Pinpricks of Change 

“good acupuncture is about drawing people out to the streets and creating meeting places. Mainly, it is about helping the city become a catalyst of interactions between people.”

“street peddlers represent an institution as old as the city itself. Think of open-air markets. At a given hour, in a given neighborhood, street merchants go to work — often hours before the lights go on in traditional storefronts — and then vanish along with their wares and jerry-built booths, leaving hardly a trace.” Commerce is then kept alive day and night, which also makes streets feel safer.

Link to book

Open Data Kit – Smartphone data collection and aggregation

I was able to attend a workshop on Friday at Tulane School of Public Health in New Orleans on Open Data Kit (ODK) which is an open-source suite of tools that helps organizations author, field, and manage mobile data collection solutions.

The data is hosted for free on the ODK server (well for now since no one is ever sure of the evolution of these companies) but the data can easily be hosted on a different server and can be downloaded and saved offline as well. It works with simple excel spreadsheet surveys downloaded from a site like Formhub to android phones with a user friendly format (see pic).
It allows for safeguards like reviewing data collectors work and yet it does not require expensive data plans for smart phones. The data can be collected offline and can be transferred using USBs (although that adds extra steps).
There are also proprietary systems and tools available using this process to take community organizations to the same place, if they feel more comfortable in pursuing a company to help them with a mobile system.
ODK has the possibility to capture data in many more formats than typical surveys relying on paper forms (i.e. text, numbers or single/multiple choice)

Pictures and videos

Capture (e.g. household survey with follow-up)

Display (show picture and ask people to identify / reflect on them

Capture signature (Consent forms)

Bar and QR Code (Anonymous identification)

The 2014 Local Food Awareness Report for Gulfport MS

In cooperation with their educational partner Real Food Gulf Coast (RFGC), the year-round open-air markets in Long Beach and in Ocean Springs are actively increasing local food accessibility and affordability in South Mississippi. Inspired by their success, the City of Gulfport opened a market in 2013 to accelerate access to regionally grown, healthful foods for their citizens, including those living in the areas defined as “food deserts.” In September 2014, RFGC released a report on the challenges of local food awareness in the Gulfport area in order to assist direct marketing farmers and area farmers markets in addressing those barriers. The report is the result of surveys conducted with existing market shoppers and farmers at the Long Beach and Ocean Springs Farmers Markets and surveys with residents and farmers not currently using farmers markets.

The Gulfport, Long Beach and Ocean Springs markets are all managed with volunteer labor, supported by South Mississippi Farmers Market Association. 

Click here to read the report and to view the survey forms.