Harvest of Change

An engaging interactive story on today’s agribusiness sector from the Des Moines Register and USA Today.

Amid all the challenges, farmers find lucrative markets shaped by shifting consumer tastes. Farmers markets, where consumers can interact directly with the growers of their food, expanded steadily in the USA from 1994 to 2014, almost quintupling to 8,268, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In 2012, fresh fruits and vegetables sold directly to consumers were a $1.3 billion industry, up 8% since 2007, the census found. That same year, organic food sales reached about $27 billion, according to the USDA, up from $11 billion in 2004.

link to the 5-part story in The Register

Harvest of Change.

Designlines judges food cart design at The Stop’s Night Market

Toronto: More than a charitable event for gourmands, the Night Market is a true mesh of the design and food communities: each of the chef’s carts is crafted from upcycled materials by a mix of established and burgeoning designers. So impressive are these carts that The Stop invited Designlines to judge them for design excellence, creativity and effective representation of The Stop’s mission.

Pumped

Lemon

Falco

HokPinata

Deconstruct

BikeSauce

Louisiana updates its cottage law

(from the organizer): …”adds a list of products that can be produced under the cottage food law including pies, breads, candies,syrups, etc. All regulation has been removed from the bill. A simple label affixed stating made in a home kitchen and income cap stays at $20,000.”
Updated law
Original post on the subject in 2013

Farmers Market Legal Toolkit Project

As a member of this team, I’m pleased to share the news of this project being funded:
The Vermont Law School’s Center for Agriculture and Food Systems received funding to develop a Farmers Market Legal Toolkit (FMLT) and educate market leaders on various legal topics that affect them. The project will be conducted in partnership with NOFA- VT, who will assist them in collecting data on area farmer’s markets. The legal toolkit will include resources in three major areas: governance structure of farmer’s markets, liabilities related to use of EBT/SNAP systems, and general risk management.

Research Awards to Support Rural Communities | National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.

(USDA Editor’s Note: The USDA press release mistakenly identified this project as the University of Vermont and the USDA research summary system mistakenly identified it as the University of Arizona, but it is in fact Vermont Law School.)

The Crunchy Cities Index – Support Farmers Markets

This is an exciting piece on the explosion of farmers markets, but I must confess that based on my own knowledge, I find the data to be less than precise. The USDA list of markets is not checked for accuracy and as it is up to market organizers to list and to de-list their own markets, most estimations believe that the list is far from accurate, even though the USDA does everything within its (limited) time to make it right. Even the definition of what can be listed as a market is loose; this may seem like nitpicking (after all more “markets” is good news isn’t it?) but since we know how the capacity of markets remains low partly because of low support among funders and policy makers, the lack of clarity may hurt chances to expand well-managed farmers markets or public markets that support local entrepreneurs.
What is also true is that many retail operations masquerade as farmers markets without directly supporting farmers or managing those involved in direct sales; regular operation, transparent governance and some direct sales for regional producers should at least be the minimum to being listed on this list. Don’t get me wrong; I like the idea of auxiliary and ancillary food initiatives that get regional food into more communities being listed somewhere and to be tied to efforts at flagship or sister market organizations, but we should get better at describing each of them with their own type so we can allow more to flourish.

The Crunchy Cities Index – Buy Local by I Support Farmers Markets.