Community activist, public market consultant and writer
Working since the 1980s on social change issues while encouraging civic activity across North America. I live in the Gumbo Nation (New Orleans) and raised here some but mostly in Buckeye Nation (Cleveland). I provide support and consulting for localized food systems, especially farmers markets. Bicycling, clean water, pocketbook issues, true wealth generation, reanimating public spaces and direct action democracy are also within my focus. Have blogged for a decade, have published essays and non-fiction since 2001.
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: a percentage of pro bono time offered with most individual market-level projects.
This blog focuses on the intersection of retail anthropology and social justice issues in order to start some ideas flowing and conversation about how we can use public markets.
It's updated Mondays and Thursdays.
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articles case studies/research civic engagement conferences Congress economic development issues environmental issues evaluation farmers/farming information farmers markets FMC food policy general governments incentives industrial food system international farmers market news Main Street market vendors national food system work New Orleans food other sectors public health public markets retail anthropology/science of shopping social cohesion USDA useful websites webinars Where's Dar now?
Click here to read about sailing alone and anchoring together….
Darlene Wolnik-Helping Public Markets Grow
Recent and current work:
•Independent research for case studies of governance of markets. Found at helpingpublicmarketsgrow dot com
• Independent research for market characteristics. Found at
helpingpublicmarketsgrow dot com
•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.
•Colorado-Assisting Boulder Farmers Markets with strategy sessions.
•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.
•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.
•NOFA-VT- Designed and led evaluation workshop for VT markets.
•VT-Dept of Ag: Researching SNAP, FMNP technology and policy answers for VT farmers markets in collaboration with NOFA-VT
•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.
*Creating articles and researching resources for WhyHunger's Food Security Learning Center
Feel free to contact me at my name at gmail dot com I might be able to help your market or business.
Public Markets Book Club
Category Archives: useful websites
News from Farmers Market Coalition:
We are about to send out the market beet, our Autumn newsletter, and it includes a pretty fantastic lineup of webinar topics and experts. To expedite the approval process for our webinars, we are asking that people use their member # in the registration form.
And, here is the schedule:
FMC capacity building webinars take place on the second Tuesday of every month, unless otherwise noted. Webinars are for FMC members and provide an opportunity for interactive learning and skill development from experts in the field.
November- Purpose Defined: Developing a Market Mission Statement
November 13, 2012, 1 pm eastern
Presenter- Darlene Wolnik, Independent Researcher and Trainer – Community Food Systems
and FMC Market Programs Advisor
Moderator- Jen O’Brien, Interim Executive Director, Farmers Market Coalition
Read More and Register Today!
December: Event Fundraiser Success Stories
December 11, 2012, 1 pm eastern
Presenters- multiple farmers market managers including:
Megan McBride, manager, Easton Farmers Market, PA
Donita Anderson, executive director, North Union Farmers Market, OH
Moderator- Leslie Schaller, director, ACEnet
January: Vendor Stories: Vendor perspectives on Market Organization
January 8, 2013, 1 pm eastern
Presenters- Multiple direct marketing farmers
February: The Power of POP: Oregon City presents their children’s market program
February 12, 2013, 1pm eastern.
Presenters- Jackie Hammond Williams, market manager, Oregon City Farmers Market
Natalie Roper, FMC intern, student, UVA- replicating POP in Charlottesville, VA
March: Farmers Market Promotion Program evaluation
March 12, 2013 1pm eastern
Presenters- Stacy Miller, Farmers Market Coalition
Also in early 2013
Farmers Market Coalition member meeting
~and~ 2013 FMPP application process
Olive and grape growers have used this technique for thousands of years. Now, farmers are expanding this approach for “tomatoes, pumpkins, watermelons, cantaloupes, winter squash, olives, garbanzos, apricots, apples, various grains, and potatoes” – all crops that are successfully dry farmed in California. For example, apples were traditionally dry farmed in western Sonoma County. While the fruit size was smaller, the yields were good and most of the fruit went for processing where size is unimportant. There are probably many more such examples.
From the article: Dry farming is not a yield maximization strategy; rather it allows nature to dictate the true sustainability of agricultural production in a region. David Little, a Sonoma vegetable grower who says he at times gets only a quarter of the yield of his competitors, describes dry farming as “a soil tillage technique, the art of working the soil; starting as early as possible when there is a lot of moisture in the soil, working the ground, creating a sponge-like environment so that the water comes from down below, up into the sponge. You press it down with a roller or some other implement to seal the top…so the water can’t evaporate and escape out.”
See the case studies section in the article for some examples of growers that dry farm such crops in California.
Nonprofit Tech 2.0 Blog :: A Social Media Guide for Nonprofits
Register for our May webinar:
It’s Electric! Spark Engagement with Virtual Participation
Thursday, May 17th, 2012
1pm to 2pm EST / 10am to 11am PST
It’s not always easy to get your motivated supporters together in one place at one time. But don’t let this discourage you from putting on a truly awesome event! FirstGiving’s Account Management team will walk you through how to turn potential no-shows for your event into active fundraisers by offering a virtual participant option.
We’re excited to share with you some noteworthy examples of nonprofits that have creatively set up virtual participation for their event. In addition we’ll warn you of common pitfalls some nonprofits have fallen into, and of course tackle your toughest fundraising questions.
Presented by FirstGiving’s Account Managers:
Jeff Love and Meg Savin
A few of the questions we’ll address in this webinar are:
What is virtual participation?
When is it a good idea to set this up for my event on FirstGiving?
How do I best keep virtual participants engaged?
FirstGiving is dedicated to one purpose: empowering passionate nonprofit supporters to raise more money than they ever thought possible for the causes they care about.
Have a question? Visit our or call us: (877) 365-2949. Please add email@example.com to your address book or safe sender list so our emails get to your inbox. This message was sent by FirstGiving, 34 Farnsworth Street, 3rd FloorBoston, MA 02110.
An employee-owned company since 1996, King Arthur Flour has some impressive programs and values. Check out this wonderful baking program they offer
Thursday, I attended the USDA & Regional Food Systems: Navigating the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Initiative – an NGFN webinar held by Winrock International. Nice overview of the new site that highlights the programs and case studies that have been supported by USDA in the last few years that benefit regional food. The Compass pdf is excellent and connects programs, farmers and funding so that people can see the entire scope. Do realize this is what has been funded through the USDA and not a list of all food projects in the US. Take a look at the webinar at a later date, it will remain available and do remember to download and share the pdf:
I think the enthusiasm over the site and the use of social media is fantastic, but I do hope that we can keep some paper and pen activists involved as well. So many of our networks do not have easy access to the internet or social networking-I asked how they might involve those without broadband and Wendy answered that they are working with the land grant universities and the extension service in every region and also working with partners that can spread the word. So please, visionary food system folks, set up a computer at the market or in your office and show your farmers, fellow organizers and stakeholders the site and make sure your stories are told on this excellent new site.
This seems appropriate for us to think about as we work to change perceptions in the food system. I have found that some shoppers have an elevated perception of the food for sale in our pop up cities (“the food here is so incredible!”), and some think the food must be less than what the supermarkets have (“why not take over a store so you don’t have to be in a parking lot?”) Over the years, I have watched markets become experts at providing the right mood for the proper staging of their vendors products.
“In Washington DC , at a Metro Station, on a cold January morning in 2007, a man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, approximately 2000 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After about four minutes, a middle-aged man noticed that there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds, and then he hurried on to meet his schedule. About four minutes later, the violinist received his first dollar. A woman threw money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk. At six minutes, a young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again. At ten minutes, a three-year old boy stopped, but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head the whole time. This action was repeated by several other children, but every parent – without exception – forced their children to move on quickly. At forty-five minutes: The musician played continuously. Only six people stopped and listened for a short while. About twenty gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32. After one hour: He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed and no one applauded. There was no recognition at all. No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before, Joshua Bell sold-out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100 each to sit and listen to him play the same music. This is a true story. Joshua Bell, playing incognito in the D.C. Metro Station, was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people’s priorities. This experiment raised several questions: In a common-place environment, at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty? If so, do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context? One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this: If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made… How many other things are we missing as we rush through life?” YouTube
For those deep in the market world, the year tends to go in patterns. Starting with workshops and meetings in the winter and early spring, we then gear up for the late spring season at market, then work madly throughout the summer, and end the year writing reports and attending to administrative needs.
Whether the market is year-round or your region has seasonal markets, it makes it hard to find the time to gain or share knowledge past those we see regularly at market.
As we start our workshop/conference season, I for one am looking forward to the Southern SAWG conference in Little Rock, AK. SSAWG functions as a regional entity, working with and through hundreds of associated organizations across 13 southern states. By building partnerships, sharing information and conducting analysis, they transform isolated ideas and innovations into practical tools and approaches for widespread use.
I have presented at past SSAWG conferences and am always energized by the farmer bustle and the very detailed assistance that is available to organizers across the South from this organization. We don’t have many large organizations down here, so we value each one we get!
There is still time to register for SSAWG; the information gained would be useful even if you are not a Southern farmer or food organizer. And if Little Rock is not possible for you to visit this year, at least sign up for their Newsletter.