Independent Researcher and Trainer Darlene Wolnik offers:
Analysis: Research and reports on public market organizational structure and governance or logistics.
Conference or workshop preparation: Building or running educational/networking events for food organizers.
Grants: Assistance with public market project grant-writing including research of subject, draft narrative and final editing.
Reports: Researching and writing for public market organization or food system projects.
Speaking: Keynote speeches or workshop development and/or facilitation.
Technical Assistance: Phone, email, webinar or in-person technical assistance for public market startups or project work for market organizations. Phone, email, webinar or in-person technical assistance for funders or stakeholders of food system projects.
Fees upon request.
This blog is updated Mondays and Thursdays. To view or download documents by author, visit:
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Darlene Wolnik-Helping Public Markets Grow
Recent and current work:
•Brooklyn NYC-Conducted a series of trainings for community markets for the Brooklyn District Public Health Office (BDPHO).
•Brooklyn NYC- Assisted BDPHO with developing farmers market technical assistance programs.
•Farmers Market Coalition-Writer/Researcher: Assisting with University of Virginia Morven Summer Institute course on farmers market evaluation.
•Farmers Market Coalition: Writer/Researcher for training and technical assistance project.
•Farmers Market Coalition: Project staff for Farmers Market Metrics Prototype Research.
•Louisiana: Assisted LSU AgCenter and Farmers Market Coalition with first statewide market conference.
•Louisiana: Assisting students at Southeastern University in Hammond with food system research and farmers market strategy.
*Louisiana: Assisting Urban Conservancy with day-long Community Wealth Workshop featuring Michael Shuman in New Orleans LA
• Maine: Researched farmers market job descriptions for People's Regional Opportunity Program work with farmers markets.
•Mississippi: Assisting Gulf Coast markets with surveys for location and customer/vendor satisfaction.
•Vermont- Designed and led evaluation workshop for VT markets for NOFA-VT
•Vermont : Researched and write report on SNAP, FMNP technology and policy answers for VT farmers markets in collaboration with NOFA-VT and VAAFM
•Wallace Center: Researching and writing case studies of successful direct marketing Mississippi farmers and markets.
•Why Hunger: Creating online toolkit for grassroots communities in 3 regions.
She also serves as a Market Programs Advisor to Farmers Market Coalition and on the Food Hub Management Program National Advisory Board.
Feel free to contact me at my name at gmail dot com if I might be able to help your market or business.
- Boston College Visit March 18, 2014I am going to Boston next weekend in preparation for a presentation at Boston College! If you are in Boston on Tuesday, March 18th, come to the Walsh Hall Function Room for Dining From a Haunted Plate: Becoming an 18th/19th … Continue reading →
- 12 Years A Slave: Why I’m Glad it Won Best Picture12 Years A Slave: Why I’m Glad it Won Best Picture “Joyce is right about history being a nightmare –but it may be the nightmare from which no one can awaken. People are trapped in history and history is … Continue reading →
- Boston College Visit March 18, 2014
Public Markets Book Club
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Category Archives: market vendors
Sales are limited to $20,000 per year
Cottage food operations don’t need to get a license from their health department, but they do need to check with their county to see if any zoning requirements apply to them.
Operations do not need to collect any state sales tax, but they may need to collect local sales taxes (it is different for each city and county).
Only food items in these categories are allowed:
Cakes, Cookies, Honey, Jams & jellies -Preserves.
Unlike most states, Louisiana allows custard and cream-filled bakery products.
I think most if not all managers of markets understand that other markets have different rules than theirs, but do your shoppers know? And have you ever updated them, in cooperation with your vendors?
Nearby markets should share rules so that they do not make their farmers follow different sets of rules for little reason. It’s amazing how many markets don’t even attempt to compare rules which makes it quite hard for vendors to remember which of their markets has rules against packing up early or who allows foraged items and who doesn’t. One of the main areas of contention among farmers is the amount of liability insurance that they are required to carry (when a market requires it); a farmer told me about three different levels of insurance that he was asked to carry, all of the markets within a few miles of each other.
An excellent piece on cities that are unsure of how to handle the explosion in the number of farmers markets, and by extension, small-scaled agriculture within city limits. There may be some correlation between cities that still operate markets themselves and how restrictive their rules are for other markets, but I’d hazard a guess that it has more to do with how they handle small business and open space as a whole. And how they view their relationship to the entire region.
In any case, it shows the need for markets and for all food organizers to realize early on that policy work is an essential part of their work. And for more legal and municipal templates for markets to be written and shared across the US. Lastly, and maybe most importantly, the need to gather information on a market’s economic, social, intellectual and natural benefits to be able to make the case to cities about the positive impact of markets.
“Dallas is one city that has historically owned its own farmers’ market,” Sarah Perry, founder of White Rock Local Market, writes in an email. “This is important because it makes Dallas’ interests in ‘farmers’ markets’ a bit different than other cities.”
At first, residents at private markets believed that as long as they kept sites clean and orderly, they had no reason to think they were doing anything wrong. That held true for a while, but once officials realized that some of these markets were a going concern, they started hassling market organizers about permits. Dallas had no provision for a farmers’ market permit, however, and general “special events” permits were expensive and required police presence.
Another issue in Durham is minimum parking requirements. For smaller farmers, there’s only a requirement if the farmer wishes to set up any sort of permanent structure from which to sell their goods. In that case, they need to have at least one parking space. Which, more often than not, is going to require a curb cut, an expense most small farmers can’t afford.
Below, is a link to an interview with a New Orleans chef who has embedded local purchasing into the very DNA of her kitchen.
The day I met Kristen was the day (2002? 2003?) that she interviewed to be our Crescent City Farmers Market (CCFM) Tuesday/Thursday market manager. She came to the interview with a slate of ideas and opinions backed up with a vitality that could not be denied. We were surprised that someone with her fine dining experience (and obvious ambition) wanted to work for our little organization, but she explained that she wanted to know all facets of the food system.
During her tenure, she can be credited with building our Green Plate Special program, which allows restaurants to come for a full month of Tuesdays to sell plate lunches to the shoppers at the CCFM and, of course, allows those chefs to understand the farmers and fishers better and to have long stretches to watch market vending in person.
As a chef, she came with a “shoot from the hip” framework and never stopped running the entire time she worked with us. Like anyone who has worked on the line at top restaurants, she was intimidating to some but we knew that she always led with what was in the best interest of our farmers and fishers. Through her, we understood the psyche of the chef better and started to realize that we should get to know the sous chefs and line cooks that were more often at the market and were on their way to the top position. Many of those have now become leaders of their own restaurant (why, like our friend Kristen Essig!) and almost all have become fierce supporters of those markets.
“As a line cook, you develop a relationship with vendors as they come in the back door, but actually working with the vendors at the market was a totally different thing. You’re working, really, with 20 small businesses, and they’re all trying to make certain quotas, and they all have certain amounts of product that they have to move. You develop strong relationships with these people—you learn that they have bills to pay, whose kid needs braces, etc.”
To follow up on Monday’s post on excellent questions NEVER to ask farmers at a market, here is a great site full of questions once SHOULD ask a farmer. I can envision these on a laminated card at the Welcome Booth or maybe on Facebook with a few listed weekly. Questions for farmers
Good overview of the new Center for Agriculture and Food Systems at Vermont Law School that Laurie Ristino is heading. I am honored to be part of one of their first grants to help markets, written in partnership with NOFA-VT. If the proposal is successful, legal resources will be written for markets and for CSAs over the next few years.
I just visited the newest member of the New Orleans localvore family, Cleaver & Co. a no-frills, full-service butcher shop. The posted educational information at this store is easily understood but when necessary, the staff is quite knowledgeable when it comes to more in-depth questions. It makes me think about how we communicate livestock issues and value within farmers markets; has the consumer education gone as deeply as it has for fruit and vegetable production? Should market managers explain the regulation and production issues in more detail than we have? Really, how much do market managers actually know about what unique issues these producers face, such as amount of land needed for grazing, treating animal illnesses naturally, finding healthy feed, selecting the right USDA processor when applicable and so on…
Take a long look at that picture. To many, it may only show another dang food picture that was posted online but to me it represents something else entirely.
All of those goods came from the Covington Farmers Market, which is a parish (to most of you outside of Louisiana, parish=county) seat market located 40 miles from downtown New Orleans and across Lake Pontchartrain in an area of what used to be called the Ozone Belt for its pine tree greenery.
The gluten-free pizza was sold to me by a teen who was selling them on behalf of her family business and could tell me what was in their pizzas and why, could take my money and offer change with a genuine smile and good wishes. The mushrooms were on their table too and collected as a side option to their prepared food sales, as well as used in their goods.
The pie was sold to me by 2 entrepreneurs that buy their ingredients locally as often as possible (literally pointing to the honey seller that provided the basis of this pie’s lack of refined sugar). This vendor’s artistic tendencies suit their product list well, all of the way to the windowed boxes for their pies and their oil cloth tablecloth and vintage aprons presentation.
What is important to me as a shopper about this picture is that it represents a (still) unusual way of buying food; I can ask each of them exactly what is in their goods and how they were made. They are working to replace industrial ingredients with natural and closer-to-home versions that offer more taste. And of course, not only did I get a chance to talk directly with the makers of these goods and to encourage them further, but that I was able to buy from young women, all just beginning farmers market sales. All of the made goods were delicious and will be bought many times again. I may buy them for myself on a week in which I know I am just not going to feel like cooking or they may be used to share with friends when they come to spend the day at the pool or may even be brought to a party I am invited to as my gift.
Market managers know that farmers markets are THE incubator for businesses that are not ready for or do not want storefronts. The chance to take a small idea and grow it slowly and carefully is a necessary step for any entrepreneur, yet the places one can do this are so limited that markets are among the only ones that regularly offer that opportunity. Many experienced market shoppers know that when they see new goods at markets that are advanced in their ingredients and presentation, they must immediately support them vigorously and talk them up to their friends. In turn, market managers need to monitor these vendors and introduce them to those shoppers (as this market’s manager did to me) as well as search for those vendors’ new shoppers, who may not already be present.
In other words, these vendors often represent a new age in a market. Its important to remember that young vendors trying items that can only be sold at farmers markets are who we want to see more of in markets. These folks cannot (or do not) sell their goods to Whole Foods or ship them worldwide; they design products for the type of person who stops and asks about their ingredients and their process. Therefore, they are an indicator species, which is defined beautifully in the Encyclopædia Brittanica as an organism that serves as a measure of the environmental conditions that exist in a given locale.
If indicator species show the health of an environment, then their low activity can alert to danger in a market’s health or when increasing, can show vitality. Encouragement of diversity of products, gender, age, ethnicity and business goals is exactly what each market must be setting as a goal daily, weekly, monthly and so on. To me, the presence of these indicator vendors and others at this little market show its emerging strength. And offers some damn tasty research at the same time.
“Randy and Karen Sowers will forfeit $29,500 to the government. U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein accused the couple in mid-April of violating federal currency reporting requirements — known as structuring — by depositing money in increments of less than $10,000 so they would not have to fill out forms required under the Bank Secrecy Act. The statutes are meant to curtail money laundering.
The Sowerses have owned a farm off Bolivar Road in Middletown for more than three decades and have operated it as the South Mountain Creamery since 2001. They have maintained their innocence and said they learned what structuring was only when Treasury Department officials showed up at the farm in late February to question them about the deposits.
The couple deal with a lot of cash at farmers markets, they said, and the deposits totaled similar amounts every time.”