Why do farmers choose to sell at farmers markets? What does it take bring a harvest from farm to fork? What kinds of relationships do producers at farmers markets forge with one another and with their customers? What’s the most rewarding part of market day? This year, compelling and heartfelt answers to these questions could earn one farmers market producer a $1,000 award.
The Farmers Market Inspiration Award contest seeks essay submissions from June 16th through August 11th from farm producers who sell at farmers markets, telling a story that depicts concrete examples of farmers market impacts on a farm and the people with whom it connects. One grand prize award of $1,000 will be awarded for the winning entry, to be announced in September alongside top finishing markets in American Farmland Trust’s America’s Favorite Farmers Market Contest. The winning Farmers Market Inspiration essay will be published in Growing for Market in September 2012.
“Behind every one of the more than 50,000 farm stands at America’s farmers markets, there exists at least one inspiring story about a life changed, a business launched, a lesson learned, and a relationship formed,” says Stacy Miller of the Farmers Market Coalition. “It’s about time we let these stories come out, and share them with the general public.”
Essays are encouraged from a wide diversity of agricultural producers, and should focus on a story that reflects some specific outcomes/benefits from selling at farmers markets. In addition to telling a specific story no longer than 1,200 words, essays should be previously unpublished and include at least three pieces of measurable data that strengthen the story, for example, number of acres in production, number of crop varieties sold throughout the season, number of employees and/or family members supported by farmers market sales, or amount of pounds do you donate annually to social service agencies in the market community. Along with each entry, farmer-writers are asked to submit a photograph of themselves or a farm representative at their market stand to accompany the story.
Submissions will be judged by a team including staff and volunteers from the Farmers Market Coalition, Growing for Market, and American Farmland Trust.
Lynn Byczynski, the editor of Growing for Market, said: “I’m looking forward to reading what growers have to say about farmers markets. We know that, in general, farmers markets have been enormously beneficial to producers, consumers and communities. With this essay contest, we hope to hear the stories behind that success, the individual tales of triumph that have given the farmers market movement so much momentum.”
Up to five (5) honorable mention essayists will receive a complimentary one year membership in the Farmers Market Coalition and a one year print subscription to Growing for Market. All essays, both winning and non-winning, may also be published in Farmers Market Coalition print and electronic publications, and may also be published in partnering organization blogs, print publications, or FMC partner web sites.
Beginning June 16th,farmers will be encouraged to read the full parameters and submit their essays at http://www.farmersmarketcoalition.org. Thank you in advance for helping us spread the word about this opportunity among your market producers!
Your friends at the Farmers Market Coalition