Growing Food and Justice for All Initiative
Friday, September 25, 2015 at 1:00 PM – Sunday, September 27, 2015 at 4:00 PM (CDT)
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…
Jen 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…
I saw a bunch of great resources, a few workshops and had dozens of conversations about some fascinating market projects.
Here are some:
Details on the pilot project for procurement of unprocessed f&v
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.
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.
Early 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:
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.
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).
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.
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:
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.