Resilience: Having the courage to persevere – Farm Aid

This is so great.

Willie Nelson:

“It’s called resilience – having the courage to persevere – and we heard a lot about it in Hartford this September at Farm Aid 2018. Farmers reminded us how they love tending the earth and its plants and animals, in spite of the struggles. That love and their resolve inspires me. And I hope it inspires you, too.”
— Read on

Farm Aid is one of the significant elders of our work, remaining focused on the needs of farmers, responding to their circumstances and amplifying possible policy solutions. The work they have done is so tremendous and grassroots, it sets the standard for all of our work.

This moment from 2018’s FarmAid concert was an obvious favorite among FMC staff:

Support the work of this important organization this year.


Reading material

Dear colleagues,

I’m sorry for the absence from this blog, but have been happily knee deep in surveys and resource development for markets. So first, if you work for an organization that runs markets and the organization has not taken the national State of the Market survey yet, here is the link. Do check to make sure someone else in your organization hasn’t already answered, as we need only ONE response per organization.

I hope the year has been productive and promising for your work and that there are big plans for 2019.

My plans for the new year include increasing my activity to connect our food system work more closely to resiliency initiatives (i.e. disaster mitigation, climate challenges, economic apartheid)  from the municipal level to the international level.

As short and long-term ecological and economic solutions are sought for water, energy, and land planning, it is vital that local food activists and practioners are at the table. I hope to be a bridge while also continuing my work with markets to increase their diversity of uses and of users and to articulate their own theory of change.

In the meantime, here are some wonderful hopeful titles on my current reading list around farming and farmers markets. I hope you find some of them interesting.











And this list of 10 podcasts is very helpful:


How Would They Spend It?


“We like to think of local today being where organic was 15 years ago”

 By Mary Ellen Shoup

BrightFarms is poised to bring its local greenhouse model to a nationwide audience with 15 hydroponic greenhouses to be built in the next three to five years as demand for locally-grown produce outweighs organic, shared BrightFarms VP of marketing and innovation, Abby Prior.

link to story

Another Fresh Food Initiative grocery store recipient may close in New Orleans

The owners received a $1 million loan from the city’s Fresh Food Retailer Initiative, a program aimed at increasing residents’ access to fresh food. According to reports at the time, $500,000 of the loan was forgivable.


Seems to be a tragic confluence of bad-faith investments, management disorder, new disruptive businesses taking away some of the sales, and the lack of resilience in the city around its increasing environmental challenges. Still, I’d like to see what else this fund ended up supporting and what those places are doing now.

Some relevant quotes from Ian’s story linked below:

One of lenders that funded the store’s reopening was First NBC Bank, the local financial institution that collapsed last spring and continues to send ripples through the New Orleans business community. Boudreaux said his loan was acquired by another financial institution which has been more aggressive.

“We opened with the finances upside down to begin with, and it got worse,” he said.

The city also provided a $100,000 Economic Development Fund grant, and the Louisiana Office of Community Development provided a loan for $1 million. The store also received $2.2 million in historic tax credit equity and $2.2 million in new market tax credit equity.


Meanwhile, Boudreaux has accused some relatives of stealing money from the family-run business.


While these issues have been ongoing, Boudreaux pointed to the August 2017 flood as perhaps the last straw for the business. That disaster, spurred by a summer downpour that revealed widespread problems with the city’s drainage systems, swamped the store and knocked out much of its food-storage equipment.

Here’s my post on the first store closure that had been a recipient.

I mention Circle Food in this piece on another public market site:

The Advocate story


Solnit on mutual aid economies

Almost anyone would say our society is capitalistic, based on competition and selfishness. But huge areas of our lives are already based on gift economies, barter, mutual aid, and giving without hope of return. Think of the relations between friends, between family members, the activities of volunteers or those who have chosen their vocation on principle rather than for profit.

Think of the acts of those who do more and do it more passionately than they are paid to do, of the armies of the unpaid at work counterbalancing and cleaning up after the invisible hand of the market and even loosening its grip on our collective throat. Such acts represent the relations of the great majority of us some of the time and a minority of us all the time. They are, as the two feminist economists who published together as J. K. Gibson-Graham noted, the nine-tenths of the economic iceberg that is below the waterline. Capitalism is only kept going by this army of anti-capitalists, who constantly exert their powers to clean up after it and at least partially compensate for its destructiveness.

Hope lies in the future, but my work on disaster and society convinced me that much that is remarkable is with us already, undescribed.

Rebecca Solnit