FINI report, Year 1

In Year one, FINI supported incentive programs at almost 1,000 farmers markets, representing 4,000 direct marketing farmers in 27 states. These farmers market programs alone generated almost $8 million in SNAP and incentive sales spent on produce. Program evaluation conducted by grantees indicated uniformly high redemption rates, strong support for the program among stakeholders, and a great deal of collaboration from both public agencies and private program partners. These collaborations were particularly important in conducting outreach to SNAP recipients.

 

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Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s Tool Maps Peer Cities 

Let me share one of my (not so) secret goals for FMC’s Farmers Market Metrics program – to be able to assist markets by using the profile data to build dynamic peer networks through matching typology of those markets.
This would mean that a market searching for information about trends or ideas for programs would be connected to a market that has the same type of programs, location, governance and vendor makeup. As it stands now, too often markets that are simply near to each other are unfairly compared, or markets will try to adopt programs managed by markets designed very differently from their own.

I also hope that we can also do the same for direct marketing vendors at some point, using the business characteristics to match them to peers, resources and to help select the right outlets and success measures for their business.

In the meantime, check out this tool to find data on cities similar to your own.

The Peer City Identification Tool is like a DNA test for civic data, allowing users to tell at a glance where certain cities’ specific interests and challenges align, and where they deviate—in effect, who their real siblings, cousins, and other relatives are.

Source: CityLab

Counting public gatherings in 2017-Washington Post article

The point of this post is to show how complex and grassroots public gatherings can be counted and measured. The two main researchers quoted in these Washington Post articles are Erika Chenoweth and Jeremy Pressman, both respected analysts of the details of large-scale civil movements and gatherings. As a data junkie, I have followed this effort with a great deal of interest (and have even counted some of these gatherings in my own town to check others counts) and look forward to more of the analysis of both the methodology and the actual count data. The analysis included not just the number who gathered but who and what was being protested or being supported, where these events were held, what symbols were used, how many arrests were made.

For March 2017, we tallied 585 protests, demonstrations, marches, sit-ins and rallies in the United States, with at least one in every state and the District. Our conservative guess is that 79,389 to 89,585 people showed up at these political gatherings, although it is likely that there were far more participants.

Certainly food and farming systems should note some of the systems used for collection and analysis. For example, the Crowd-Counting Consortium may be something that national entities involved in any grassroots data collection systems like food systems should discuss creating for their own use.

Here is their counting method:

We arrived at these figures by relying on publicly reported estimates of march locations and the number of participants involved in each. We started a spreadsheet and called for crowdsourced information about the location and number of participants in marches. Before long, we had received thousands of reports, allowing us to derive low and high estimates for each event. We carefully validated each estimate by consulting local news sources, law enforcement statements, event pages on social media, and, in some cases, photos of the marchers. When reports were imprecise, we aimed for conservative counts; for example, if observers reported “hundreds” of participants, we reported a value of 200 (“thousands” was 2,000, “tens of thousands” was 20,000, etc).

An example of their public data set.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2017/04/24/in-trumps-america-whos-protesting-and-why-heres-our-march-report/?utm_term=.ce99baecf0b6

Visit to Hub City

I just returned from a trip across the South, traveling from Louisiana through Mississippi, Alabama,  Georgia to South Carolina. Spartanburg was my destination, allowing me to experience the lovely Hub City Farmers Market community there. I’ll leave most of the detail for those who brung me (my inelegant way of saying I’ll keep it for the report) but a few pics may offer a quick snapshot of its hardworking and dedicated market community supported by the lovely intentions of its stakeholders and everyone’s practical knowledge and patience for how to make it so.

In town after town, I am reminded of how much has actually already been accomplished by the food and farming community and how much more we  hope to accomplish. Kudos Hub City.

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The lovely Harvest Park in the Northside neighborhood of Spartanburg home to the Saturday HCFM, The Urban Farm and the Monarch Cafe and Butterfly Foundation.

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HCFM’s Urban Farm was alive and flourishing with a wide selection of items under HCFM staffer Meg’s care.

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HCFM poster in the Little Coffeeshop next to the non-profit Hub City Bookshop

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The Writers Project at the HCFM is producing an impressive set of titles on the area including an upcoming partnership with the market and Monarch Cafe to benefit all.

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A corner of the Hub City Bookshop, a non-profit space that has accomplished a great deal in just over two decades.

Meet up with APA-FIG at the National APA Conference May 6-9, 2017

The Food Interest Group, a group of APA members and allied professionals, is dedicated to advancing food systems planning at the local, regional, state, or national level.

Here’s a sneak peak of the food system sessions happening: Incentivizing the Sale of Healthy and Local Food; Incentivizing the Sale of Healthy and Local Food; Growing Food Connections for Community Change; Developing Vermont’s Food System through Planning; Safe, Active Routes to Healthy Food. If you come early, check out the mobile tour on May 5—Hudson Valley Local Agriculture and Foodshed.

Meet up with APA-FIG at the National APA Conference May 6-9, 2017! – APA-FIG

 The Art of Noticing, and Then Creating 

A wonderful interview for anyone interested in community and creativity. So anyone working in markets, food and farming.

 

MS. TIPPETT: And I want to — I want to bring in the word tribes that you used, because that’s another way, you’re using a word that we associate with something primitive. Right? That we think, that we thought modernity was about outgrowing.

MR. GODIN: Right.

MS. TIPPETT: You are actually really affirming that… We choose who and what we belong to. It’s not just about survival. It’s about connection and flourishing.

MR. GODIN: So, you know, in the desert or the jungle, the tribe was defined by geography alone. That you were in the tribe based on where you were born. And then if we fast-forward to, I don’t know, Mark Twain. Mark Twain would show up in a city and a thousand people would come to hear him speak. And everyone who came was in his tribe. They were in the tribe of, you know, slightly satirical, slightly jaundiced people who were also intellectuals who could engage with him. And he had never met them before, but within minutes, they were part of a congruent group who understood each other. And so if we fast-forward to today — you can take someone who hangs out in the East Village or Manhattan who has 27 tattoos — they go to Amsterdam, they can find someone in Amsterdam who talks their language and acts like them, because they’ve chosen the same set of things that excite them, and that they believe in. And we divide tribes as small a group as we want. But what the Internet has done is meant that we don’t have to get on a plane anymore to meet strangers who like us.

That — the Linux operating system, which is on a billion computers around the world, was written by a group of strangers who have never met, who are part of the same tribe. And so the challenge of our future is to say, are we going to connect and amplify positive tribes that want to make things better for all of us? Or are we going to degrade to warring tribes that are willing to bring other groups down just so they can get ahead?

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So, you know, on the way into the studio today, I passed a 1934 Rolls Royce. And in those days, if you were really rich, you bought a fancy expensive car like that. So we went through this era where you would value something that was physical. But now the things we pay extra for are connection. Right? The things we pay extra for are what are other people using — what networks can we be part of — what conference can we go to — who can we be with? And the people we choose to be with, the products and services we choose to talk about are all interesting and unique and human and real, as opposed to industrial and cheap and polished and normal.

Seth Godin — The Art of Noticing, and Then Creating – | On Being

Visitor count article

Farmers markets across the U.S. use many different methods of counting their visitors. Some of these methods are best used for planning programmatic activities at different points of the day, while others are more reliable ways to estimate an average number per market day. The current methods most researchers accept as accurate use strategically placed staff (paid or volunteer) to count those entering or everyone within the market at a set time. These methods require defining entrances, the time span to count and who should be counted or not, such as children or groups of people. The entry count method may be difficult at those markets that stretch for blocks or have many entrances; for those there are also new methods such as capturing the number of mobile phone “pings” within a market space or using drones to snap overhead photos to count quadrants that may offer accurate data.  In order to satisfy researchers who need credible data while still acknowledging the collection capability of low-capacity markets, Farmers Market Coalition’s materials currently recommend the 20-minute timed entry count offered by the Rapid Market Assessment (RMA) toolkit.

 

Link to full article in FMC Resource Library