Summit Scholarship Applications Due July 9th

If you haven’t already heard the news, Farmers Market Coalition and partners will host the United State’s first-ever National Direct Agricultural Marketing Summit this September in Arlington, VA.

The summit will be an opportunity for farmers market managers, farmers, vendors, and researchers to build relationships with leaders across the country, and learn the latest information about direct-marketing agriculture resources, technology, research, and more.
Learn About Summit, Workshops, & Sessions

FMC is working to make sure a diverse group of farmers market leaders can join us at the summit:

If you would like to attend, but have limited means to do so, apply today for an FMC scholarship. FMC is awarding 15 FMC members with funds to help with conference and travel expenses. Applications are due July 9.

Summit Scholarships for FMC Members
FMC seeks to ensure that an exemplary and diverse group of market operators is able to attend the National Direct Agricultural Marketing Summit in September, and is pleased to provide a $600 scholarship to 15 FMC members. Scholarship recipients will arrive with a desire to learn from and connect with other managers and leaders in the field. Recipients will commit to attending FMC’s pre-conference workshops on Sunday, September 16th from 3pm to 6pm ET, titled, “Managing Farmers Market Risk & Integrity.”

To apply, complete the following two steps:

Complete this form by writing 4-6 sentences (under 250 words) about the mission and activities of your market, and how attending the conference will advance your goals.
Complete a Market Profile for your market on Farmersmarketmetrics.org. For detailed guidance on creating a Market Profile, click here.

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

Vt Farmers Market Conference

 

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Up next: New Orleans, Vermont, Massachusetts

Over the last ten years, my travel schedule has remained pretty constant in the late winter and spring: a.k.a. farmers market/agricultural conference season. Sometimes it means that I am leaving New Orleans during Carnival season, (or my fav festival event) the Tennessee Williams Literary Festival or just at the loveliest time of year. Still, I am honored to be invited to participate in so many market development workshops and say yes to as many as I can manage.

This year my conference travel has taken me to North Carolina, Atlanta and Illinois and next up are three meetings, two in places I know and love, and one new to me:

New Orleans: AFRI-funded “Indicators for Impact” project team/market pilot sites meeting.

Vermont: NOFA-VT Farmers Market meeting

Massachusetts: Mass Farmers Markets meeting

• In New Orleans, I will serve as the host team member and support the FMC team in presentations, facilitating open discussion among participating markets and in absorbing those markets feedback on their first year of gathering and compiling data. This University of Wisconsin-led research is informing the development of Farmers Market Metrics.

• In Vermont, I return for the 5th or 6th year to support my colleague Erin Buckwalter in her work at NOFA-VT to build capacity for direct marketing outlets and to support VFMA. I’ll be presenting some retail anthropology techniques for markets to consider when refreshing their markets. Sounds like I’ll also be called on to facilitate a open session on EBT issues, which should be helpful to the Center for Agriculture and Food Systems at the Vermont Law School (CAFS). The students are leading the design of a Legal Market Toolkit along with project partners NOFA-VT and FMC. Exciting stuff coming out of this project, I promise.

• Final stop of the season is to one of the most established state associations and to work with one of the longest serving state leaders, Jeff Cole. I remember well that in the formation days of Farmers Market Coalition, our Market Umbrella E.D. always came back from those meetings with great respect for Jeff’s input. Since then, I have called on him to offer analysis in some of my projects (shout out to some of my other informal advisor mainstays: Stacy Miller, Amy Crone, Sarah Blacklin, Ben Burkett, Colleen Donovan, Copper Alvarez, Kelly Verel, Suzanne Briggs, Helena St. Jacques, Richard McCarthy, Beth Knorr, Leslie Schaller, Jean Hamilton, Paul Freedman, Devona Sherwood  along with a whole bunch of others..)   Jeff has asked me to do an overview on market measurement history (RMA, SEED, PPS audits) and recent evolutions like FM Tracks, Demonstrating Value, and of course Farmers Market Metrics.

So, keep yourself busy on other blogs while I sit in meetings, learning and sharing for the next few weeks. And if you are attending any of these meetings, please say hello and share your news or ideas with me. Maybe it’ll be the next best practice that I post on my return to these pages.

 

 

 

A summit for us: Atlanta 2016

A whirlwind of a week in Atlanta with Wholesome Wave and its “surfers”: markets, market advocates and food system organizers. Held at the Emory Conference Center in Atlanta GA, just down the road a block or two from the CDC offices. WW did a great job with the week: well-organized, great food and drink (thumbs up for the smoothies available each day) and plenty of space for networking and meetings. Atlanta was lovely and the rare off-site food and drink I had was excellent, but I gotta say that the traffic is as unholy of a mess as I have experienced in any US city. Talk about needing a quality of life intervention!

Highlights for the Summit for me included:

The WW Georgia market shopper who turned to good food to beat her cancer; she was charming in telling a very personal story on a panel and brave to share her still-emotional reaction to using SNAP, even while sharing her appreciation for the program.

Organizing for State Nutrition Incentive Policies : all of the presenters had unique input on their state’s strategy: Ecology Center (CA), Experimental Station (IL), Maryland Farmers Market Association and New Mexico Farming Market Association. This group: Martin, Connie, Amy and Denise have a lot to contribute to any discussion of how to move the dial at the state level.  Check out their varied work on their respective websites and if you have a chance to buttonhole any of them at a conference, tell them I told you to do it. And the short answer is to have a creative and flexible strategy that includes how to pay for it and a constant champion in your statehouse.

Clinic-Community Initiatives-Pathways to Sustainability: what I got out of this session was one of those unintended consequences: the analysis that MANNA has done of their program as a handout was one that responded to a question that our new FMC Research and Education Director Alex Canepa had just been asking earlier that day: can we get data that actually indicates positive health changes from medical nutrition therapy  strategies that offset traditional medical costs? See the Examining Health Care Costs Among MANNA Clients and a Comparison Group report…

The Role of Technology in Supporting Nutrition Incentives: For those of us gamely working on technology solutions for markets that support the range of no-tech, low-tech to high-tech markets out there, this was an in-depth and honest conversation. I sincerely appreciated Darcy Freedman from Case Western Reserve University talking about how the tool is half of the puzzle; the TA is the other half.

Measuring the Impact of Vouchers at Farmers Markets: I think the title threw some people off this one as well as the description. This covered the evaluation being done by University of Delaware/CRESP and led by Allison Karpyn on the incentives and vouchers funded by WW. Her powerpoint is available to those who request it (check with them or with WW) and I’d recommend that you get a copy. Allison shared some of the early data and was game to listen to input from the attendees about what they thought about it so far.

Measuring Markets Economic, Ecological, Human and Social Capital: Of course I chose this one. FMC Project Director Sara Padilla led the show, but Jen Cheek also popped up to add some updates on how FMC is embedding this into FMSSG reporting and she managed the lively Q&A as I roamed the room and made some notes for later conversations based on those questions. We had hoped to role play some of the training materials/exercises that will be embedded within FMM in this hour, but the room, the late hour and the lack of actual market leaders attending meant a quick change to describing it only and instead spent time sharing our thoughts on the components of grassroots evaluation, which seemed to be a good choice.  As I shared later with the rest of the FMC team, I think grassroots evaluation work is evolving slowly but surely and our work in this area seems to be helpful to markets and to their partners.

The FMC team also spent some time with the WW evaluation team  (shout out to Katie and Elizabeth for finding the time between their many conference duties), continuing to find ways to streamline and support both portals without duplication. I can tell you we are all committed to that goal….

Lastly, I left feeling that I just saw and heard and met a whole bunch of people who are doing some excellent network level work in their states. It felt like it has only at a few moments in the last 10 years: that there is some sensible support for contextual strategies for increasing access at markets, and some help to use that support to change policies for markets and their direct marketing producers. But, also an awareness that there is danger in markets or networks in diving in the too-deep water before they are ready, before they have a plan for what this extra work is meant to do for their markets and how it will absorb it. Because what we know is to attempt that before examining the culture of the market or the willingness of the market leadership to invest years in this type of intervention is foolhardy*. I’d also point out how that the lack of production-side advocates in attendance to talk about how these strategies were changing regional food production (for the good and for the bad) jarred me slightly and I’ll hope for better participation at future summits.

(*…. for all of those uncertainties here is the process to change them:  market communities becoming true partners in the design of their projects, taking the time to work with their community in this process long before the funding starts, leading or sharing in the data collection process as well as in the analysis of that project and beyond that, being brave about seeking and sharing evidence of all of the market’s impacts. And if that is where your community is at, I can tell you that there are some people ready and willing to do just that, many of whom I just saw in Atlanta.)

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Technology session, FMC’s Jen Cheek asking another good question from the floor

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WW’s Katie Merritt, chatting with FMC’s Sara Padilla and Alex Canepa pictured. WW’s Elizabeth Atwell  (back of her head showing), Jen Cheek and yours truly also present

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Allison Karpyn’s incentive evaluation presentation

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FMC’s FMM presentation

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FMC’s audience involvement spectrum

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One of only 2 off-site meals, this one had with WW’s Gabrielle Langholtz who sang Hamilton the musical songs to the waiter. Not odd behavior if you know her…

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The food we ordered off that chalkboard menu; all great.

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The dog that came with my airbnb, Sadie, wondering why I am leaving so early on a cold day..

 

WW 2016 Early Bird Special closes Friday

Transforming Food Access
The Early Bird Special for the 2016 Transforming Food Access Summit closes in two days, this Friday, November 20th. If you’ve already signed up, we look forward to seeing you there. Otherwise, don’t miss out. Register before the 20th with the code EARLYBIRD2016, to receive a $75 discount on registration costs!

We are pleased to share an outstanding array of speakers, panelists, and contributors for this year’s summit, including featured speaker, Kevin Concannon, the Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services at USDA.

Join a host of speakers from respected organizations in the field: Ecology Center, Fair Food Network, Farm Fresh Rhode Island, Fresh Approach, Common Market, DC Central Kitchen, DC Greens, Eat SF, The Food Trust, Hartford Food System, Health Care Without Harm, Maine Farmland Trust, Union of Concerned Scientists, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation, and many more. To see the comprehensive agenda, click here.

We are also happy to announce that on the evening of Monday, January 11, Wholesome Wave Founder & CEO, Chef Michel Nischan, and his local Atlanta friends, Hugh Acheson, Linton Hopkins, and Anne Quatrano, will host a “Chefs’ Potluck” welcome reception at the Floataway Cafe. We are thrilled to have these award-winning chefs who are dedicated to local, sustainable food join us that evening. There’s limited availability and tickets will be available on a first come first serve basis for Summit attendees.

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We would like to extend a thank you to our sponsors, Fresh Sound Foundation and Farm Credit Council, for their generous support of this year’s summit.

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And finally, a special thank you to Wholesome Wave Georgia for their hospitality and advice.

Please contact programs@wholesomewave.org with any questions. For periodic updates, sign up for Summit emails on our website.

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2015 Growing Food and Justice for All Chicago 9/25-9/27

Growing Food and Justice for All Initiative

Friday, September 25, 2015 at 1:00 PM – Sunday, September 27, 2015 at 4:00 PM (CDT)

Chicago, IL

The Growing Food and Justice for All Initiative is excited to announce that registration is now open for the 2015 Gathering:
They have a limited number of scholarships available this year that are available on a first come first serve basis. Please see the eventbrite page for more details.
See you in Chicago!

Odds and ends from the Washington State Farmers Market Association meeting

View from the conference dining room

View from the conference dining room

Just got back from a great farmers market association meeting in Olympia WA with what I hear was around 200 participants but seemed like double that with the ideas and networking flying around. Karen Kinney, WSFMA’s impressive Executive Director could be seen everywhere, adding content to their market bootcamp, introducing sessions, setting up table displays, and making time to chat with anyone who stopped her, like Farmers Market Coalition Executive Director Jen Cheek, or even a random consultant from New Orleans…
2015-02-08 19.27.40Jen and Karen

In many ways, Washington represents the apex of the U.S. market work right now because of the serious attention paid to building the capacity of market organizations themselves and their work on regional and national issues that benefit all markets and their communities. (California has to be exempted from any comparison as it is always is a decade or so ahead of the rest of us.)
I have found that meeting long time and full-time market professionals in Washington is not unusual, nor is finding stable and expansive market organizations across the state that offer their communities tons of resources and spend time to increase the connections between direct marketing producers and shoppers in their region. One of the indicators for the flagship market typology is the ability of the market to look “outward” and assist the larger food system or other market organizations. Flagship markets seem to abound in Washington.

There is no doubt that the WSFMA is considered one of the top (flagship?) associations in the country by most market advocates and partners with Massachusetts, Michigan, New Mexico, New York thought to be in that same tier too.
In recent years, the level of sharing that Michigan and Washington especially have done on programs such as Washington’s benefit program pilots/card technology research, its data collection and policy work and Michigan’s respected manager certification program really stand out. Pennsylvania’s PASA, although not specifically a market association, should be mentioned for its excellent service for markets in their very large state. I can also tell you that in all of my work with markets in any state, I go back to these folks time and time again for input or to ask them to share their analysis and they always deliver.
Many younger or all-volunteer associations are coming right behind in the level of resources or strategy they are offering in their state to increase market professionalism – some of the ones I am asked about regularly are Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, Ohio, Oregon, Vermont and West Virginia. Sorry if I left any out, that was just off the top of my head…

The Vancouver Farmers Market gorgeous literature and materials on display

The Vancouver Farmers Market’s gorgeous literature and materials on display


The WSFMA market bootcamp run by WSFMA board member Ann Foster and WSFMA staff member Jennifer Brown,

The WSFMA market half-day bootcamp run by WSFMA board member Ann Foster and WSFMA staff member Jennifer Brown and assorted speakers.

great display of a project to help start-ups test food products. They have a program at OSU to conduct surveys for producers and help them figure out the best products to get the best niche.

great display of a project to help start ups test food products. They have a program at OSU to conduct surveys for producers and help them figure out the products to get the best niche.

I saw a bunch of great resources, a few workshops and had dozens of conversations about some fascinating market projects.

Here are some:

The 2014 CSA Farming Report

List of Washington’s Top 10 most frequently purchased minimally processed F&V

Details on the pilot project for procurement of unprocessed f&v

WA Cottage Food Operations Permit

Loads of information on both MarketLink‘s new and improved services and FMC’s new replacement technology program. Amy Crone of MarketLink and Jen Cheek of FMC presented together and were ably assisted by Suzanne Briggs.

I also learned about the Moscow Idaho market, Gorge Grown’s interesting mobile market, discussed data collection with a trio of rural Oregon markets, and heard a RIVETING presentation by Washington State University Small Farms Coordinator Colleen Donovan. Colleen used her time to lead a spirited discussion with the entire room of farmers and market leaders about her survey data collected in Washington State on farm and market farmer characteristics. Donovan is an advisor to the Farmers Market Metrics work and did a great 2013 workshop for FMC that can be heard and seen on FMC’s YouTube channel. Check out her work; even though it is for Washington, her methods and analysis are vital for any and all markets to see. I left thinking (and saying): every state needs a Colleen Donovan.

So, now I’m back home with some time to experience our holidays here (Mardi Gras is Tuesday February 17 this year, and no, it’s probably not what you imagine it is…) and then to read all of those reports and keep on working inspired by the new connections and knowledge gained in Olympia.

Call for Papers for 2015 Farm to Table International Symposium

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Call for Papers

  Farm to Table International (F2Ti), a three-day, multi-track symposium on the policy and practice of food and drink, is currently accepting papers for its 3rd annual program, taking place August 8-10, 2015 at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. F2Ti features the brightest thought leaders and leading practitioners in the burgeoning farm-to-table movement. F2Ti explores the cultivation, distribution, and consumption of food and drink sourced locally to globally. It takes place in tandem with the Louisiana Restaurant Association’s Annual Foodservice & Hospitality EXPO, an event attracting food and beverage professionals from across the country.

This year’s theme, “A Feast for the Senses,” spotlights the sensual aspects of food and drink at every stage of the agricultural-culinary cycle. Topics will include, but are not limited to, best practices in urban farming, bringing products to market, sourcing locally, enhancing sustainability, and the latest trends and developments in the industry, including food science, security, and safety.

Proposals for educational sessions should correspond to the current theme, “A Feast for the Senses,” and should be designed to fit one of the following educational tracks:

•    Crop to Cup (Brewing, Distilling, Vinting, plus non-alcoholic beverages)
•    Farming and Production
•    Food and Beverage Journalism and Media
•    Farm to School
•    Food Innovation (Science, Technology, Trends, etc.)

Interested presenters should refer to the conference website at www.F2T-int.com for additional information regarding submission requirements as well as the consideration and selection process.

The deadline for submitting presentations for review is February 20, 2015. Presentations for the F2Ti program will be selected by the Farm to Table International Executive Advisory Council.

F2Ti is produced by the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in partnership with the SoFAB Institute and the LSU AgCenter.

Still time to register for the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group meeting in Mobile AL, January 14 – 17 2015

unnamedEarly bird registration for the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group is still open for a little bit longer (2 more days) through December 21st. Register online, or download a registration form and get it postmarked no later than Dec 21st for the lowest conference rates. They accept, via mail, checks made payable to Southern SAWG. They accept, via mail and online, VISA, Master Card, American Express and Discover credit cards. Pre-registration continues through midnight on January 7th. After that, registration will be on location in Mobile.

I will be leading two workshops and also moderating an open discussion (information exchange) this year. Find me here:

Information Exchange:
Friday, 10:45 a.m. – Noon

Using EBT, “Double Coupon” and Other Programs at Farmers Markets – Does your market employ the EBT, FMNP, Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive Program (FINIP) or WIC programs? Do you have a double coupon incentive program for SNAP, WIC or SFNMP? Discuss technology issues and share best practices for implementing these programs at markets.

Workshops:

Saturday, 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 noon
Why Farmers Markets? Learn to Communicate Their Value to Your Community – Making the case for farmers markets to farmers, shoppers and community leaders is crucial for continued community support, yet most markets struggle with this task. Learn how to capture and communicate meaningful measures of your market’s success. Using exercises and worksheets from the Farmers Market Metrics project, this session will give you practical examples of simple and effective data collection techniques that you can use for your market. Darlene Wolnik, Helping Public Markets Grow (LA) and Sarah Blacklin, NC Choices (NC).

Saturday 3:30-5:00 pm
Farmers Markets as Business Incubators: How Market Managers Can Help Improve Their Vendors’ Businesses – Increasingly competitive market outlets for local food means that the top farmers often jump from market to market. This session will offer practical strategies for market managers and board members on identifying and understanding their anchor vendors and their needs, as well as addressing the challenges of retaining new vendors. Darlene Wolnik, Helping Public Markets Grow (LA) and Sarah Blacklin, NC Choices (NC).

2015 Conference Program — Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group.

Request for Makers, Hackers and Healers

Growing Power Inc and Growing Food and Justice for All Initiative (GFJI).

Growing Power’s Urban and Small Farms Conference Committee is excited to announce a request for Makers, Hackers and Healers. As part of Growing Food and Justice for All Initiative’s (GFJI) strategic work in reconnecting Food, Culture and Spirit, we are creating a ‘Marketplace’ for skill sharing in a variety of formats.

We also hope that healers who practice Reiki, energy work and other traditional practices offer opportunities to share their craft and practices.

This years conference theme “Building a Fair Food Economy to Grow Healthy People” will truly be activated in the Makers Marketplace. The space will cultivate the spirit of sharing, arts and culture.

We are looking for people to curate hands on learning and sharing activities

1) 90 minute workshop demos- (offered concurrently with conference workshop breakout sessions) to provide in depth opportunities for learning/sharing and making within the conference format.

2) 20 minute demos- (offered in the Maker Marketplace through out the conference) to provide quick learning experiences, information sharing, recipe demos and tastings. You may opt for multiple demo times to highlight your work

3) Three Hour long maker or tech skill share intensive- (Sunday, 11/9 from 1pm to 4pm) this is an opportunity to share your craft, skill or trade and for participants to have the opportunity to learn from presenters in a longer format. We also hope seed savers, artisanal food makers, permaculturistas, policy initiators and activist/makers use this time to broaden and strengthen our movement. Please designate the maximum number of people that you can accommodate and a materials cost if applicable.

Healing arts and culture sharing space in this “Market Place” will be made available through out the conference for people to grow, share, and heal.

Interested?

Apply using our Google Form here

SSAWG

SSAWG

SSAWG conference coming up

Carolina Farm Stewardship Association 2013 Conference

The Carolina Farm Stewardship Association (CFSA) is a farmer-driven, membership-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that helps people in the Carolinas grow and eat local, organic foods by advocating for fair farm and food policies, building the systems family farms need to thrive, and educating communities about local, organic agriculture.

Our key program areas are:
Education
Advocacy
Food Systems
Farm Services
Founded in 1979, we are the oldest and largest sustainable agriculture organization in the Southeast. For over three decades, we have successfully united farmers, consumers and businesses to build a just, healthy food and farming future.

Program | Carolina Farm Stewardship Association.