Independent Researcher and Analyst list of contracts (In November 2019 began full-time role as FMC’s Program Director)
•AMS TA project: Mentor for national technical assistance project for current FMLFPP grantees led by the Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development at Penn State University.
•Brooklyn NYC: Assisted BDPHO with developing farmers market technical assistance programs.
•Report on BDPHO’s 5-year market capacity project.
•Farmers Market Coalition Senior Research Associate for Farmers Market Metrics project creation (2015-)
• Farmers Market Coalition’s Senior Advisor, focusing on technical assistance for markets and networks (2015-)
•Illinois: Worked with ILFMA on evaluation plan for integration and upgrade of statewide fms and DTC information on integrated platforms.
•Louisiana: Assisted students at Southeastern University in Hammond with food system research and farmers market strategy.
•Louisiana: Assisted ReFresh Market and Garden with evaluation plan (2017)
•Louisiana: Working with Ruston Farmers Market on outreach strategy for new location
• Helping to craft resources and training for 2019 Fresh Central Certified Institute for Central Louisiana markets and producers with CLEDA.
•Louisiana: Organized first statewide farmers market conference for LSU Ag Center archives found at: lafarmersmarkets dot blogspot dot com
•Maine: Researched farmers market job descriptions found at www.helpingpublicmarketsgrow.com
• Mississippi: Providing research and analysis for City of Hernando MS 3-year project to grow flagship market
•Mississippi: Assisted Gulf Coast markets with FMPP project on analyzing access to markets for Gulfport resident and farmers. 2014 Local Food Awareness Report for Gulfport MS, found at www.helpingpublicmarketsgrow.com
•Vermont: Providing analysis and resource development for NOFA-VT’s annual data on farmers markets.
•Supporting markets creating their Legacy Binders
•Vermont: Researched and wrote report on SNAP, FMNP technology and policy answers for VT farmers markets in collaboration with NOFA-VT and VAAFM, 2013 Vermont Market Currency Feasibility Report found at www.helpingpublicmarketsgrow.com
•Vermont: Working with Vermont Law School on legal resources for farmers and market organizations.
•Vermont: Assisting with 3 year project to build capacity for direct marketing farmers and outlets through DIY data collection and use.
Wallace Center: Moderator of FSLN, advisory to the 2020 NGFN Conference to be held in New Orleans in March of 2020
•Why Hunger: Created online toolkit for grassroots communities.
Feel free to contact me at my name at gmail dot com if I might be able to help your market or business.
And let me also remind everyone here a fact that Mercedes already knows and is conscious of as we have talked about it in the past- we CANNOT ask vendors to limit prices or to ask them to look at other vendor’s prices when setting theirs. That is a legal violation and falls under price collusion or price fixing.
Instead, be aware of the need to work on diversifying your shopper base, or designing your market so that the one area is not overloaded with one product. I am working on the beginnings of a short presentation on anchor vendors and their shoppers behavior for a project in Central Brooklyn that I hope to add to and share by summer for everyone else.
Very timely post, Darlene.
I am finalizing a presentation of developing product diversity and a vendor recruitment plan for a conference this weekend. One of the questions always asked is what to do about exclusivity. Should a new vendor be accepted into the market if someone else is already selling that product.
The sited article shows that competition is, in fact, beneficial.
I am encouraging markets to work with members to ensure that there is diversity in product, variety (different varieties of tomatoes, for example) and price.
Emphasizing the “co-opetition” theory seems important.
Anything else you’d say is vital to include on this topic?
I think the issue, of course, is balance. The way that products should be added is, as you point out, by need (demand), and then it becomes the market organization’s job to add more and different demand when the same product is sold by more than one vendor. My experience was to work on vendors growing different types of the same product (smaller quantity of heirloom versus higher volume of another variety for example) or to analyze what type of shopper is attracted to each vendor and to find their particular shoppers. (Example may be that the seasoned, quiet farmer may be very popular with experienced market shoppers, but the newer, enthusiastic, talky vendor may attract nervous first time shoppers.)
In the research of typology of markets that I continue to work on, the “food security” market is the only one that I have found so far that consciously limits competition in favor of fewer vendors attending, since those markets are often limited by the number of shoppers they can attract (when they are setting up markets in low traffic food deserts.) However, its important to note that the food security market (and all of the types that are emerging through research) are on one continued spectrum so any market can start as a food security market and then become a boutique or another type, so those limitations can be lifted later.
In all cases, that need or demand should always be set by the manager and the Board, rather than the vendors. In other words, exclusives can often happen for short periods, but no vendor (or market manager) should expect an exclusive to remain in the types of markets that intend to grow the market base.