Atlanta

Like any market leader worth her salt, my North Carolina pal Salem told me on the first day of the Wholesome Wave Summit in Atlanta that she was going to check out two of the public market projects around town, the Dekalb Market and the Ponce City Market. Of course, I invited myself along immediately. Once done with the days sessions and networking, and with her smartphone barking directions at us, we finally found our way to the first without too many wrong turns as the twilight became evening.

The Dekalb market is actually titled “Your Dekalb Farmers Market” and is in its 39th year of operation. Still managed by the same husband and wife that started it as a produce stand, it is more than 100,000 square feet of sales space of produce, meat, seafood, herbs, cheese, beer and wine and even a recycling center. Whether farmers have much if any relationship with it is not clear, but certainly, it serves a respectable amount of diverse needs, including offering meat prepared for multiple religious and cultural requirements and a wide selection of herbs and oils for varied ethnic meals.

It’s only a few miles outside of Atlanta and easily accessible for the 7 days per week that it is open. The parking lot is large and well lit, with the lot and the market set off from the road by itself. Once inside, the signs are many and include warnings for no photography being allowed. So do note that the photos that I include here were taken inadvertently by er…someone else.

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Lots of nice tomatoes available and they do sell by box too, although the price didn’t seem like any break at that amount.

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I counted 10 varieties of sweet potatoes

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Nice signage at the Dekalb Market

We bought a few items at YDFM,  with Salem noting as we left that each staff person had which languages that they were fluent in on their nametag. Shoppers were diverse and buying large amounts.

The second market isn’t far from the first, although this one is within the city of Atlanta proper. This “market” is brand new and clearly designed as a festival marketplace and situated within a larger (fancy) retail and housing development in an old Sears headquarters building. Parking was complicated, as some of the closer spaces were marked as 30 minutes or less (with signs firmly promising that towing strictly enforced, even after 7 p.m.) and others were allowed with paid parking from the parking station. Interestingly, the development had staff positioned at each pay station to assist and even though it was near freezing outside, they were extremely helpful and polite!

Once inside, we found that the space was still under construction, with small restaurants or prepared food stalls  lined up along the perimeter. The middle of the space looks to be on its way to becoming an office tower. Pictures wouldn’t do much, as the space was large and any picture would have shown lots of still under construction areas so I took no interior shots.

Those eating in the Ponce City Market were mostly of a type: young, white and informally dressed. We perused some of the eating places quickly, but as we were hungry, we found a warm and cheerful taco place with cocktails. Good staff, food excellent.

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2nd market: the Ponce City Market in Atlanta

 

Story about the amusement park opening on the roof in 2016 inspired by the original that was replaced by Sears.

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Sweeping study of US farm data shows loss of crop diversity the past 34 years

U.S. farmers are growing fewer types of crops than they were 34 years ago, which could have implications for how farms fare as changes to the climate evolve, according to a large-scale study by Kansas State University, North Dakota State University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Less crop diversity may also be impacting the general ecosystem.
“At the national level, crop diversity declined over the period we analyzed,” said Jonathan Aguilar, K-State water resources engineer and lead researcher on the study.
The scientists used data from the USDA’s U.S. Census of Agriculture, which is published every five years from information provided by U.S. farmers. The team studied data from 1978 through 2012 across the country’s contiguous states.

Source: Sweeping study of US farm data shows loss of crop diversity the past 34 years

From 0 to 35 in MS

I have worked with markets and farmers in Mississippi for a dozen years and have found more barriers to getting regional food accepted than in most other areas of the US, yet also have met some of the most optimistic and capable people  working on it there.
What’s interesting is that in going from a deeply (still) entrenched commodity/plantation culture of farming directly to a new economy of small family farming for markets and restaurants can mean that some of the middle steps can be skipped, which is beneficial to innovative growers.

In other words, the situations is similar to what has happened in many non-industrialized or colonized countries in regards to technology; having skipped the landline era, the new users adapt much more quickly to the technology of mobility*.
I can see this leapfrogging in play for sustainable farming in the Gulf States with new farmers pushing the envelope with pesticide-free and heirloom varieties at markets and in CSAs, rather than  being influenced by the less inspiring midcentury distribution system that hardened growers’ experience into growing the hardiest and tasteless products to ship.
The area around Oxford MS is one that is ready for takeoff. The small farmer markets offer organic products at a higher rate than the New Orleans farmers markets for example, and the average age of the vendors seems markedly less than the US average, to my unscientific eye. The chef quoted in the article below is a pal of mine and had been the Board President of the New Orleans-based Market Umbrella before Katrina, and now is a leader in the regional food movement in Oxford. He offers his knowledge to the markets and farmers around the area as well supporting the leading agricultural advocates, Mississippi Sustainable Agriculture Network (MSAN), which was founded with Wallace Center support a few years back. Corbin and MSAN are good example of the quiet revolution happening up there.

Additionally, the folks in Hernando MS (north of Oxford, closer to Memphis TN) are leading the state in innovative healthy living strategies and thinking deeply about how to expand regional farming to support those strategies. Their weekly market is large enough to attract serious attention from regional funders and even policy makers, and I have hopes that they might soon attempt to create a year round market.

Continue reading

Big data doesn’t have to be Big Brother

This article easily says what I attempted to do in my 3-part Big Data, Little Farmers Markets posts earlier in the year.

The same data and algorithms that wreak havoc on workers’ lives could just as easily be repurposed to improve them. Worker cooperatives or strong, radical unions could use the same algorithms to maximize workers’ well being…

…Big data, like all technology, is imbued within social relations. Despite the rhetoric of its boosters and detractors, there is nothing inherently progressive or draconian about big data. Like all technology, its uses reflect the values of the society we live in.

Under our present system, the military and government use big data to suppress populations and spy on civilians. Corporations use it to boost profits, increase productivity, and extend the process of commodification ever deeper into our lives. But data and statistical algorithms don’t produce these outcomes — capitalism does. To realize the potentially amazing benefits of big data, we must fight against the undemocratic forces that seek to turn it into a tool of commodification and oppression.

Big Data article

Welcome Janie Maxwell to the market world

Although I will miss working regularly with my funny, indefatigable and razor-sharp pal Pat Stieran, I know some of the IFMA board well enough to know that they picked a worthy successor to her. Looking forward to working with Janie and seeing this great association continue to grow.

The Illinois Farmers Market Association Board of Directors is pleased to announce Jane Maxwell, as its new executive director.  Janie, as she prefers to be called, started on October 26 and is excited to be a part of the IFMA. She is very passionate about expanding local food opportunities and promoting Illinois farmers markets.

As a Registered Dietitian Janie believes strongly in the health value of local food and advocates for local food by building systems that highlight the economic value of markets to communities and farmers.

In her most recent work with Making Kane County Fit for Kids, as a part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Healthy Kids Healthy Communities Grant, Fit for Kids became a nationally recognized leader in creating a culture of health in part by improving access to healthy food.

Janie brings a background in managing grants and in nonprofit management having managed non-profit initiatives and programs.  She is also a nutrition instructor at Northern Illinois University, Department of Family, Consumer and Nutrition Sciences.

Board President Natalie Kenny-Marquez stated “We are so excited to have Janie at the helm, she is hard at work already with her grant management skills due to the USDA grants that IFMA recently received.” Please join me in welcoming Janie and you can contact her atjmaxwell.ifma@gmail.com.

Locally grown coffee

In the years since I joined the farmers market community, many things have changed about my life because of that connection. One of those changes is how I get my news and what kind of news that I now find interesting. An example of this is RFD-TV, which I often catch on a sleepy Sunday morning as I cook up items from my Saturday market. RFD-TV is full of state agricultural updates, national farm reports and even some old-timey music shows like the Porter Wagoner Show. Exciting right?

This week the California Bountiful show featured a farmers market grower from the Santa Barbara area, Jay Ruskey of Good Land Organics and the locally grown coffee beans he is selling at farmers markets. Yes, that’s right – coffee beans. This farmer has also experimented with other unusual crops like the caviar lime and the cherimoya; his never-ending enthusiasm for new trials and offering those products to his shoppers is a great example of how innovation and farmers markets are intrinsically connected.

If your market has a vendor who regularly offers new varieties or talks about his or her dreams of adding crops currently unavailable in your region, it may be worthwhile for the market organization to seek funding in partnership with that farmer and local Extension in order to get that item in full production and to promote it once available. It’s important that Extension or an agricultural advocate is involved to ensure that the production snafus that are inevitable to this type of project can be addressed. One of my favorite examples of this work was done in Toronto for their World Crops Project which I wrote about a few years back for Growing For Markets. What was so impressive were the depth of the partnerships assisting in every step of the process and that they focused on involving new citizens who had some experience as farmers in other world regions to introduce culturally appropriate products to Ontario.

Also, I always recommend that markets keep an ongoing list of crops that they’d like to see added to their market and to circulate that list every once in a while to the vendors. Who knows…you might just spark an idea…

http://www.californiabountiful.com

October Newsletter from Center for Agriculture and Food Systems (CAFS)

I am a huge fan of the Center for Agriculture and Food Systems at the Vermont Law School. This activist center has already added a great deal of thoughtful research to the field of community food and their impact continues to grow exponentially. It is my honor to be working on one of their projects, a legal toolkit for farmers markets, along with the good folks at NOFA-VT.

OCTOBER 2015

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GREETINGS
As I write this, the harvest is in and the farmers markets are in their final weeks. At CAFS, we have also had a bountiful season, presenting at conferences on each coast (the University of Oregon and Harvard University), teaching a wonderful class of food and agriculture law and policy students, and continuing our project work for food and agriculture producers and entrepreneurs. We are thrilled to report the award of additional funds through the National Agriculture Library, expanding that partnership through our innovative collaboration with William Mitchell Public Health Law Center and the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at the University of Connecticut. We are also pleased to announce the expansion of our staff with one of our own graduates, Sarah Danly, who is spearheading our leading-edge use of design, technology and the law to produce relevant and powerful legal tools. These are just a few highlights of what you will read below.
I hope you enjoy the fall issue.
Eat well, be well,
Laurie Ristino
Director, Center for Agriculture and Food Systems
Banner image courtesy of Brooklyn Grange

PROJECTS & RESOURCES
USDA National Agricultural Library
Awards CAFS $728,273 Grant
In September, CAFS received a $728,273 grant from the USDA National Agricultural Library. The grant will support three new projects; the largest — the Community FoodWorks project — is a collaboration with the Public Health Law Center at William Mitchell College of Law and the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity at the University of Connecticut. The two additional projects, How to Use a Lawyer and Farmland Access Lease Assistant, will be designed to help farmers find and utilize legal resources.

STAFF SPOTLIGHT
Sarah Danly
Program Officer for Legal Design
Sarah recently earned her MELP (Master of Environmental Law and Policy) from Vermont Law School. She also holds a BA in Architectural Studies and Community Health from Tufts University, as well as a BFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, where she focused on sculpture, drawing, design, and digital skills.
   Sarah will work with students in the Food & Agriculture Clinic on designing accessible online legal tools and information, which include the animated clip, “What Does the Food and Ag Clinic Do?” Prior to coming to CAFS, Sarah conducted outreach for Next Step Living, a Boston-based home energy efficiency company, and worked at farmers markets as a vendor and assistant manager.

FACULTY SPOTLIGHT

CAFS Welcomes Practicing
Faculty Members Beth Boepple
and Amy Manzelli
Beth Boepple (right) is developing the fourth food and agriculture distance-learning course for CAFS, drawing on her rich experience practicing food and farm law. A VLS alum, Beth is a shareholder and attorney with Lambert Coffin in Portland, Maine, specializing in corporate, commercial and banking law; farm and food production law; and real-estate and land-use law.
    In addition, Beth will be co-teaching Agriculture and Food Entrepreneur Lawyering Skills with Amy Manzelli (left) in the spring. Amy currently collaborates with CAFS on two USDA-funded projects. She is a partner at BCM Environmental & Land Law, PLLC in Concord, New Hampshire, specializing in environmental, conservation, and land law.

NEWS & EVENTS
Director Laurie Ristino Presents at Harvard Law and the University of Oregon School of Law
On September 25, 2015, Ristino gave the presentation “Food, Agriculture, and Drought: Implications of Water Supply Scarcity on Food Production and Policy Solutions at the Federal, State, and Local Levels” at the Drought in the American West Symposium at the University of Oregon School of Law in Eugene. On October 3, she also gave a seminar at Harvard’s Food Law Student Leadership Summit entitled “No Food Without Nature.”
Associate Director Laurie Beyranevand Contributes to Recently Published Books
Beyranevand wrote the chapters “Breaking Down Barriers to Local Food Distribution in Urban Centers” from Urban Agriculture: Policy, Law, Strategy, and Implementation, and “Agricultural Biotechnology and NAFTA: Analyzing the Impacts of U.S. and Canadian Policies on Mexico’s Environment and Agriculture,” from NAFTA and Sustainable Development: The History, Experience, and Prospects for Reform.
People at CAFS
* Associate Director Laurie Beyranevand was interviewed October 1, 2015 on Heritage Radio Network’s Eating Matters podcast about food labels and CAFS’ food labeling site Labels Unwrapped. She was also quoted in Mother Jones‘ article, “Chipotle Says it Dropped GMOs. Now a Court Will Decide if That’s Bulls-t;” in ClimateWire‘s “Businesses learn there are tax incentives and laws to help them recycle mountains of food;” in the Valley News‘ article “Food Notes: A Modern Take on an Old-Time Product;” and in the Health Affairs Blog article “The FDA’s Determination on Artificial Trans Fat: A Long Time Coming.”
* Director Laurie Ristino was quoted in the Law360 article “9th Circ. Pesticide Ruling Holds EPA to High Standards,” commenting on the 9th Circuit Court’s decision to vacate several EPA registrations of bee-killing pesticides.

* Research Fellow Amber Leasure-Earnhardt(right) attended the Closing the Hunger Gap: Cultivating Food Justice conference in Portland, Oregon, in September. She met with food bank representatives, farmers, and advocates to discuss the role of CAFS’ gleaning research in furthering food justice.
* LLM Fellow Carrie Scrufari will be presenting her paper “Generally Recognized as Safe-Until They’re Not: Why the FDA Never Subtracts Food Additive From GRAS” at the Yale Food Systems Symposiumon October 30-31, 2015. She workshopped the paper in September at Pace Law School’s 2nd Annual Future Environmental Law Professors Workshop.
 

Farmers Market Metrics site updated

We are pleased to present an updated version of Farmers Market Coalition’s Farmers Market Metrics (FMM) website. We have streamlined and organized information about the current efforts, and will use this site to offer background information and project updates on all of the components of FMM that are underway. The final set of resources and tools will be available on a separate portal in development, expected in 2016.
Some highlights include:
Unique pages for current and past projects
Information on our project partnerships and funding sources
Examples of some of the resources being developed (currently in draft phase)
We hope you will take some time visiting and exploring our new pages. Please contact me with any questions.
Thank you for your ongoing support and enthusiasm for Farmers Market Metrics and the Indicators for Impact project.
Sara

Sara Padilla, FMC Project Manager

2015 Farmers Market SNAP Support Grantees

Some very exciting projects in here. Congratulations to all of the successful organizations.

As approved by Congress in the President’s FY 2014 budget request for FNS (The Food and Nutrition Service: 2014, Explanatory Notes), these funds are intended to support “the participation of farmers’ markets in SNAP by providing equipment and support grants to new markets and those currently participating in the program.” The goals of the FMSSG program are to increase SNAP accessibility and participation at farmers’ markets, and support the establishment, expansion, and promotion of SNAP/Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) services at farmers’ markets. This is a new program, which may continue in subsequent years.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

Link to original RFA

Last Published: 10/02/2015
  1. Plant Chicago, NFP – Ensuring SNAP Success at Plant Chicago’s Farmers Market
    Chicago, IL
    Choice Neighborhood
    Estimated Federal Funding: $15,379
    Plant Chicago’s Ensuring SNAP Success project, will improve SNAP programming in the urban center of Chicago, IL by increasing SNAP-customers at the organization’s farmers market through community, bi-lingual outreach and a local marketing campaign.  Through this project the SNAP program at the market will expand to include a volunteer program for weekdays and weekends.  Plant Chicago intends to increase SNAP participation at their market by over 25% for 2017.
  2. Trust for Conservation Innovation – Making Farmers Market Purchases a SNAP in Northern California
    San Francisco, CA
    Choice Neighborhood
    Estimated Federal Funding: $123,068
    The Making Farmers Market Purchases a SNAP in Northern California project will support staffing for the SNAP at eight small-scale farmers markets in Northern California that currently struggle to provide SNAP on a regular basis. Through this project, these markets will receive EBT technical training and assistance.  Additionally, the project will increase SNAP redemptions at farmers markets through community outreach and promotion and develop best practices to ensure growth and sustainability.
  3. Morgantown Farmers’ Market Growers Association – Expanding a Targeted SNAP Program to Demographically-Diverse Member Markets
    Morgantown, WV
    Strike Force State
    Estimated Federal Funding: $36,599
    Through the FMSSG, the Morgantown Farmers’ Market Growers Association will hire an EBT coordinator to manage the growing SNAP at two farmers markets and increase redemptions by engaging in outreach specifically targeted to SNAP-participants in urban food-desert of West Virginia.  The Association will also identify best practices that can be incorporated into a long-term plan for the SNAP at other markets throughout West Virginia.
  4. Growing Places Indy, Inc. – Indy Winter Farmers Market (IWFM) “Good Eating Is a SNAP, All Winter Long”
    Indianapolis, IN
    Promise Zone
    Estimated Federal Funding: $58,740
    The Indy Winter Farmers Market (IWFM) “Good Eating Is a SNAP, All Winter Long” program will increase access to SNAP by hiring a dedicated EBT manager that will also coordinate educational demonstrations and outreach materials.  This staff member will provide farmer vendors with needed training and technical support. These activities will help to increase the consumption of farmers market products by SNAP customers and give farmers the tools they need to increase SNAP redemptions and build their businesses.
  5. Homefull – Growing SNAP Success with Southwest Ohio Farmers’ Markets
    Montgomery, OH
    Estimated Federal Funding: $113,258
    Through Growing SNAP Success with Southwest Ohio Farmers’ Markets, Homefull will reach a three-county area to bolster and increase SNAP at over fifteen local farmers markets and promote SNAP availability at the participating markets.  Homefull will achieve this through EBT training and technical assistance, outreach, EBT staffing, and market ambassadors.  The project plans to double the number and dollar value of SNAP transactions at southwest Ohio farmers markets.
  6. The Experimental Station-6100 Blackstone –  EBT Support and Outreach For Illinois Farmers Markets and SNAP Clientele
    Chicago, IL
    Choice Neighborhood
    Estimated Federal Funding: $250,000
    Over a two-year project, the Experimental Station will provide EBT support to Illinois farmers markets accepting SNAP through EBT/SNAP consulting, technical support and establishing an online community of EBT support to Illinois farmers markets.  This project will also create and disseminate outreach materials and television advertisements, to create greater awareness of the availability of SNAP at Illinois farmers markets. The Experimental Station aims to double SNAP sales at markets throughout Illinois during the life of this project.
  7. Houston Department of Health and Human Services – Expanding Opportunity for Use of SNAP at Houston Farmers Markets
    Houston, TX
    Strike Force State
    Estimated Federal Funding: $250,000
    The Houston Department of Health and Human Services through the Expanding Opportunity for Use of SNAP at Houston Farmers’ Markets project will provide staff and EBT technical support and promotional activities related to the expansion of SNAP acceptance at Houston farmers markets.  Outreach and promotional activities will be implemented in partnership with local community organizations to increase the number of farmers markets accepting SNAP to six.  The project aims to increase the number of SNAP transactions at farmers markets within the City of Houston to 8,980 by 2018.
  8. Missouri Farmers Market Association – Growing SNAP at Farmers Markets in Missouri
    Webb City, Missouri
    Choice Neighborhood
    Estimated Federal Funding: $73,160
    The Missouri Farmers Market Association will expand the SNAP at ten farmers markets throughout Missouri. SNAP-expansion will occur through a variety of marketing tools tailored to the individual market and its SNAP-customers.  The marketing tools range from radio advertising to cooking demonstrations, to banners, and brochures, all designed to best reach local SNAP-participants.
  9. Hamakua Harvest, Inc. – Hamakua Harvest Farmers’ Market SNAP/EBT Expansion Program
    Honokaa, HI
    Estimated Federal Funding: $137,174
    The Hamakua Harvest Farmers’ Market SNAP/EBT Expansion Program will support the newly-authorized farmers market in Honokaa, HI gain the support it needs to thrive. The funds will be used to promote and expand the SNAP through staffing an EBT manager, purchasing SNAP supplies, training for EBT market vendors, and outreach to SNAP-recipients.  Hamakua Harvest anticipates the impact of the project to include 36 vendors to be trained to accept SNAP.
  10. North Union Farmers Market – Increasing SNAP Benefit Use at North Union’s Cleveland Markets through Educational Outreach and Targeted Marketing
    Cleveland, OH
    Choice Neighborhood
    Estimated Federal Funding: $59,302
    North Union Farmers Market will strengthen their SNAP by hiring a part-time educational coordinator who will be responsible for expanding the market’s outreach programs and build relationships with community partners that work with SNAP-clients. The expanded outreach programs will include cooking demonstrations, family-friendly educational activities and workshops on food preservation.  The North Union Farmers Market will also implement a marketing program using print and digital media and radio advertisements.  The anticipated impact of the project is an increase in redemptions by 10%.
  11. Broad Street Events, INC. – Spotlight on Snap, Raising SNAP Awareness in Rural Michigan
    Chesaning, Michigan
    Estimated Federal Funding: $17,480
    The project Spotlight on SNAP will effectively market the SNAP to surrounding SNAP-residents and increase the amount of SNAP users at the Downtown Chesaning Market.  Funding will provide the needs to expand outreach and effectively promote SNAP through market activities, newspaper articles, television commercials, and outreach events.  Broad Street Events will partners with many local organizations and schools with high populations of SNAP-recipients.
  12. Village of Park Forest – Park Forest Farmers’ Market EBT Program
    Park Forest, IL
    Choice Neighborhood
    Estimated Federal Funding: $16,975
    The Park Forest Farmers’ Market EBT Program will increase SNAP benefit redemption at the Park Forest Farmers Market by hiring an EBT manager who will administer the program, plan and implement outreach strategies for informing SNAP participants of their ability to use benefits at the farmers market, and conduct trainings for farmer-producers new to the market on participation in the EBT program.  By expanding the EBT program, the market can continue to involve more vendors and offer greater varieties of products available to SNAP customers.
  13. Harvest Home Farmer’s Market – Farm Fresh for Every Body
    New York, NY
    Choice Neighborhood
    Estimated Federal Funding: $250,000
    Through 19 different farmers markets in food-deserts around New York, Harvest Home will increase the number of SNAP transactions processed at their farmers markets, increase the number of farmers and vendors who serve SNAP recipients, and broaden their reach into the surrounding communities. Harvest Hands will achieve these goals by creating culturally and linguistically appropriate promotional materials to reach SNAP-recipients, improve the technology needed to process SNAP transactions on-site and in real time, and conduct ongoing vendor SNAP recruitment for farmer producers.
  14. Everyone’s Harvest – Monterey County SNAP Initiative
    Marina, CA
    Estimated Federal Funding: $109,716
    Everyone’s Harvest will double its annual SNAP redemptions and grow its SNAP customer base by 70% by using a customer relationship management database and outreach to SNAP market shoppers.  The organization will achieve this by engaging Spanish-speaking community members in producing a Spanish-language promotional video focused on SNAP and creating a mailing and email outreach campaign.
  15. Eastern Market Corporation – Eastern Market: Detroit’s SNAP Food Security Blanket
    Detroit, MI
    Strong Cities Strong Communities
    Estimated Federal Funding: $249,663
    The Eastern Market: Detroit’s SNAP Food Security Blanket program will provide resources for program support staff, consulting fees, and supplies to allow for significant program improvements through increased operational efficiencies and greater program effectiveness.  This will be achieved by discontinuing the use of a paper-based system and expanding the SNAP program to an additional market.
  16. Friends of the Rochester Public Market, Inc. – Greater Rochester Farmers’ Market SNAP Collaborative
    Rochester, NY
    Estimated Federal Funding: $178,902
    Through the Greater Rochester Farmers’ Market SNAP Collaborative project the Friends of the Rochester Public Market will implement a community-wide marketing campaign that increases awareness of SNAP use at regional farmers markets.  Additionally funds will be used to develop a new SNAP Token Center at the Public Market and staff salaries for SNAP related activities
  17. Fresh Approach – SNAP Training and Outreach for Farmers’ Markets in San Francisco Bay Area Counties
    Concord, CA
    Choice Neighborhood
    Estimated Federal Funding: $190,951
    Fresh Approach will use funds to perform SNAP data collection, build a network of farmers market stakeholders, create and distribute bi-lingual marketing material, produce outreach events, create a best practices manual for farmers markets to utilize setting up a SNAP program, and train farmers market staff on SNAP program implementation.
  18. Glenville State College Research Corporation – Expansion of Acceptance of SNAP at the Gilmer County Farmers’ Market: Population of low income households in a food desert
    Glenville, WV
    Strike Force State
    Estimated Federal Funding: $42,020
    This project will use funds to design and distribute educational posters and handouts, create and execute an extensive marketing campaign including TV and radio ads, provide salary for an EBT operator and manager, and train volunteers and market staff on SNAP procedures.
  19. Southern Tier West Regional Planning and Development Board – From the Ground Up: Expand and Sustain SNAP at Farmers Markets
    Salamanca, NY
    Estimated Federal Funding: $99,813
    From the Ground Up: Expand and Sustain SNAP at Farmers Markets project will provide research and data analysis, technical assistance, educational training, volunteer training, and capacity building strategies to farmers market managers, and perform outreach to SNAP clients, develop curriculum and training materials for the Southern Tier West Regional Farmers Market Network.
  20. City of Independence – Increasing SNAP Awareness and Utilization at Independence Farmers’ and Craft Market
    Independence, MO
    Choice Neighborhood
    Estimated Federal Funding: $144,976|
    The City of Independence will use FMSSG funds to design and implement a marketing plan for the Independence Farmers market through movie, billboard, local print and bus advertisements, additionally banners and other printed advertising material will be used at the farmers market and distributed throughout the community.  City staff will also perform outreach and educational events in order to increase redemptions at the farmers market due to higher community awareness of SNAP at the farmers market.
  21. Florida Certified Organic Growers and Consumers, Inc. –  Increasing the Capacity of Fresh Access Bucks in Florida
    Gainesville, FL
    FINI & Choice Neighborhood
    Estimated Federal Funding: $250,000
    The Increasing the Capacity of Fresh Access Bucks in Florida project will use FMSSG funds to pay personnel for SNAP administration, organization to provide resources, and technical assistance to farmers market managers.  The project will also develop strategic branding and promotional materials for FL farmers markets and promote SNAP at markets through regular press releases, advertising on the radio, in newspapers, on public transit, on electric bills in each county, direct mailings, and through social media.
  22. Boulder County Public Health – Building and Growing Regional Capacity for SNAP at Farmers’ Markets in Colorado’s Front Range
    Boulder, CO
    Strike Force State
    Estimated Federal Funding: $231,460
    The Boulder County Public Health will use funds to staff a farmers market SNAP coordinator, conduct focus groups on the barriers to accessing farmers markets, develop and implement an outreach plan, train farmers and market managers on managing a SNAP program, hire bi-lingual staff for markets, and create communication tools to distribute best practices to farmers markets in the county.
  23. Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project – Increasing SNAP at NC Farmers Markets
    Asheville, NC
    Strike Force State
    Estimated Federal Funding: $164,625
    Through the Increasing SNAP at NC Farmers Markets project, the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project will conduct outreach and promotion to and collaboration with local agencies on SNAP at farmers markets, conduct trainings for market managers and farmers on how to increase SNAP redemptions at markets, evaluate community needs through research and surveys, and provide technical assistance to market managers following their initial training.
  24. The Food Trust – Making Fresh Food a SNAP: Increasing ACCESS Sales at Food Trust Farmers’ Markets
    Philadelphia, PA
    Promise Zone, FINI, Choice Neighborhood
    Estimated Federal Funding: $150,103
    The Food Trust will conduct focus groups, staff EBT operation at markets, implement promotional events around SNAP, develop marketing plan to educate SNAP-clients on EBT at farmers markets, develop bi-lingual marketing and educational materials, train market managers on SNAP program management, and collaborate with local partners.
  25. Hub City Farmers’ Market – Expanding South Carolina’s SNAP Use at Farmers Markets
    Spartanburg, SC
    Strike Force State
    Federal Funding: $247,100
    This project seeks to create a market model that can serve as an inspiration to markets across the state, alleviate market and user barriers, and help municipalities understand the importance of supporting SNAP in markets they run. Hub City Farmers’ Market of Spartanburg will work with Eat Smart Move More South Carolina and the University of South Carolina Center for Research in Nutrition and Health Disparities to develop a set of best practices to help mentor two markets in key areas of the State.
  26. El Dorado County Trails Farm Association – Improvement and Expansion of EDC Farm Trails Association Farmers’ Market SNAP Program
    Placerville, CA
    Federal Funding: $16,057
    The project’s main goal is to boost public awareness of farmers’ market accepting SNAP benefits.  Applicant plans to partner with the Health and Human Services Department and El Dorado CNAP to conduct outreach along with media blitz and raise awareness about the program.
  27. Feed the Hunger Foundation – SNAP at Honolulu Farmers Market
    San Francisco, CA/Honolulu, HI
    Federal Funding: $243,450
    The plan for this project includes outreach to the following communities: 1) news outlets engaging communities whose first language is not English: Samoan, Tongan, Chuukese, Tagalog, Ilocano, Korean, Cantonese, Vietnamese, Thai, Lao, Cambodian, Japanese; 2) Military news at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam; 3) University of Hawaii system (including community and adult education outreach colleges). 4) Coordinating with other SNAP –accessible farmers markets to collaborate on promotion.
  28. Ecology Center – California Farmers’ Market EBT Program
    Alameda, CA
    Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2)
    Federal Funding: $242,828
    The project’s aims to support the Ecology Center’s CA Farmers Market EBT program and will: (1) reach out to the 350 CA farmers’ markets that do not yet offer SNAP access with a compelling Case Statement on the benefits of accepting SNAP; (2) provide comprehensive technical assistance, training, shopper outreach materials, scrip, and systems to help a minimum of 120 of those markets add SNAP access; (3) update, improve, and maintain FMfinder.org, the Ecology Center’s website and mobile site designed to helps SNAP shoppers easily find up-to-the-minute information on CA farmers’ markets where they can use their benefits; (4) work with the Departments of Social Services in Los Angeles and Alameda Counties to mail over 1.3M inserts to 632,205 SNAP in order to educate them about the availability of SNAP programs at local farmers’ markets and direct the shoppers to FMfinder.org to find locations and hours of operation; and (5) through these combined efforts, increase SNAP sales at CA Farmers’ Markets by $1.23M (a 33% increase over 2014) by the end of the grant term.
  29. Kokomo Farmers Market Corp – SNAP To Kokomo Farmers’ Market: a targeted marketing, outreach and expansion project to increase SNAP user participation and benefits use at the KDFM
    Kokomo, IN
    Federal Funding: $248,770
    The project goals are to (1) increase SNAP client accessibility and participation at the Kokomo Downtown Farmers Market (KDFM) through extended hours, targeted outreach and expanded marketing, to (2) improve systems for SNAP transactions, recording, and reporting, and to (3) support SNAP recipients with cooking and preserving demonstrations at various outreach locations.
  30. Sustainable Farms & Communities, Inc. – Expanding SNAP Participation in Boone County, Missouri
    Columbia, MO
    Estimated Federal Funding:  $146,983
    Expanding SNAP Participation in Boone County, Missouri project will provide staff for EBT market management, including record keeping, token management and educational activities.  Also, the project will develop a comprehensive marketing and community outreach plan, and healthy cooking and living demonstrations.
  31. Health Education Council – Sacramento Region CalFresh Market Expansion: Connecting Families to Farmers
    West Sacramento, CA
    Promise Zone & Choice Neighborhood
    Estimated Federal Funding: $240,429
    This project will provide technical training and support to SNAP market managers, the funds will also provide EBT staffing for markets, outreach to SNAP customers at markets, marketing material, and regional meetings and trainings.
  32. Washington State University – Skagit Farmers Market Flash
    Pullman, WA
    Estimated Federal Funding: $250,000
    Washington State University will implement the Skagit Farmers Market Flash project through organizing and producing market outreach events, increase access to farmers markets for seniors, develop and roll-out a marketing campaign, and provide EBT training and technical assistance for farmers market managers.
  33. Federation of Massachusetts Farmers Markets – Massachusetts SNAP Support Project
    Waltham, MA
    Choice Neighborhood
    Estimated Federal Funding: $250,000
    Massachusetts SNAP Support Project will provide SNAP operating support to farmers market managers across Massachusetts; awarding sub-grants for time spent operating SNAP/EBT machines at market, SNAP accounting, vendor payments, reporting, and performing outreach to SNAP participants, as well as purchasing scrip and accounting software necessary for SNAP/EBT.
  34. Dianne’s Call – Optimizing Peoples’ Everyday Nutritional (OPEN) Path to Healthier Lifestyles
    Sumter, SC
    Strike Force State & Choice Neighborhood
    Estimated Federal Funding: $229,589
    Dianne’s call with expand the SNAP program at local farmers markets through training, conducting hands-on cooking classes, provide educational material for SNAP at farmers markets and implement health and behavior promotional events.
  35. Downtown Fond du Lac Partnership, Inc. – Reaching Diverse Populations through SNAP at the Farmers Market
    Fond du Lac, WI
    Estimated Federal Funding: $28,471
    This project will provide market managers and farmer EBT trainings, SNAP community outreach, extensive marketing campaign to SNAP-clients, creation of promotional videos, language translation for marketing materials, market and SNAP tours for clients, educational and cooking demonstrations, and additional SNAP signage.
  36. Village of Farwell – Farwell Farmer’s Market SNAP Project|
    Farwell, MI
    Estimated Federal Funding: $89,160
    The Farwell Farmer’s Market SNAP Project will provide staff for the farmers market, train vendors on EBT use, create marketing materials, implement marketing plan, and a social media campaign.
  37. Maine Federation of Farmers’ Markets – Building a SNAP Support System for Maine Farmers’ Markets
    Pittsfield, ME
    Estimated Federal Funding: $249,677
    The Main Federation of Farmers’ Markets will use funds to provide training for market managers and farmers on EBT, provide support and technical assistance for local farmers markets, produce and utilize SNAP-Farmers Market communication tools, update EBT training manual, implement a branding campaign in conjunction with FINI, and develop and train market liaisons.
  38. Sankofa Safe Child Initiative – Sankofa Seniors Farmer’s Market Project
    Chicago, IL
    Choice Neighborhood
    Estimated Federal Funding: $28,616
    The Sankofa Seniors Farmer’s Market Project will use funds to do community outreach, cooking demonstrations and other educational sessions targeted toward seniors, and increase access to farmers market for seniors.
  39. Farm Fresh Rhode Island – The Rhode Island Farmers Market SNAP Network
    Pawtucket, RI
    Choice Neighborhood
    Estimated Federal Funding: $250,000
    Farm Fresh Rhode Island will develop and implement extensive marketing plan focusing on SNAP at farmers markets and provide financial support to local farmers markets to maintain their EBT programs.
  40. Billings Forge Community Works, Inc. – More SNAP: Local Vegetables and Fruit for Hartford Tables
    Hartford, CT
    Promise Zone
    Estimated Federal Funding: $198,776
    The More SNAP: Local Vegetables and Fruit for Hartford Tables project will involve rolling-out promotional plan for SNAP at farmers markets, which includes various advertisements, produce a farmers market toolkit, and train market managers and farmers on EBT.
  41. CEN-TEX Certified Development Corporation – Supporting SNAP redemption at Mercado O’liva Farmer’s Markets in San Antonio
    Austin, TX
    Strike Force State, Promise Zone & Choice Neighborhood
    Estimated Federal Funding: $88,662
    This project will provide EBT staffing and administration for the Mercado O’liva Farmers Markets. Additionally the project will implement social media promotion and an advertisement campaign consisting of print, radio and TV and CEN-TEX will hold cooking demonstrations targeted to SNAP-clients at markets.
  42. Ajo Center for Sustainable Agriculture – Good Food For All – Introducing SNAP at Authentically Ajo Farmers Market
    Ajo, AZ
    Strike Force State
    Estimated Federal Funding: $223,530
    The Good Food for All project will expand and support the SNAP/EBT program at the Ajo Farmers Market, design and implement standard practices, provide training on EBT for market vendors and volunteers meeting the needs of SNAP-clients in a poor rural area.
  43. Council on the Environment, Inc. (GrowNYC) – Branding and Advertising to Boost SNAP Sales at Greenmarket
    New York, NY
    Choice Neighborhood
    Estimated Federal Funding: $186,335
    GrowNYC will create a branding and advertising campaign that promotes SNAP acceptance at Greenmarkets throughout the city and purchase marketing materials, such as banners, flyers, canopies, etc., based on the campaign.
  44. The Gleaning Network of Texas (GROW North Texas) – Expanding SNAP at Farmers Markets in Dallas
    Dallas, TX
    Strike Force State
    Estimated Federal Funding: $230,230
    The Gleaning Network of Texas will use FMSSG funds to hire market staff for four seasonal markets to run SNAP programs, provide technical EBT assistance to farmers, purchase SNAP tokens, and implement and outreach plan.
  45. Corporation for Findlay Market – Get Fresh With Us
    Cincinnati, OH
    Choice Neighborhood
    Estimated Federal Funding: $37,932
    Get Fresh With Us will use funds to train interns to help manage EBT operations at farmers markets, provide community outreach for SNAP at farmers markets, give market tours for SNAP-clients, develop and distribute SNAP outreach materials, and hold cooking demonstrations at markets in the area.
  46. Gloria Tu Gilbert – Westford Farmers Market SNAP 2015-2017: Sustainable Incentive
    Westford, MA
    Estimated Federal Funding: $27,709
    The Westford Farmers Market Project will provide staff for operating the SNAP program at the farmers market, training for EBT staff, and marketing SNAP at the farmers market and throughout the community, and supplies needed to operate a SNAP program.
  47. Main Street Monroe, Inc. – Enhancement of SNAP Accessibility and Participation at Main Street Monroe Farmers Market
    Monroe, WI
    Estimated Federal Funding: $179,051
    This project will collaborate with community partners to implement community outreach promoting SNAP acceptance at the Main Street Monroe Farmers Market, develop a transportation plan to distribute to SNAP-clients helping them overcome transportation barriers, establish procedures for operating EBT at the market, and provide training to vendors to operate EBT.
  48. Sustainable Food Center – Central Texas Farmers’ Market SNAP Expansion
    Austin, TX
    Strike Force State & Choice Neighborhood
    Estimated Federal Funding: $147,210
    This project will hire staff for running EBT at markets, develop a Neighborhood Farm Market Startup Guide and training materials, train market managers and vendors on EBT management, provide technical assistance to farmers markets, and provide community outreach.
  49. Fuller Park Community Development Corporation – Eden Place Farmers’ Markets SNAP Outreach
    Chicago, IL
    Choice Neighborhood
    Estimated Federal Funding: $111,418
    The Eden’s Place Project will develop outreach and marketing materials, targeted outreach to seniors on SNAP, on-site educational demonstrations at the market, host informational and training workshops on managing EBT at markets, and provide technical assistance to market managers and farmers on EBT.
  50. Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA-VT) – Growing EBT Access and Capacity at Vermont’s Farmers Markets
    Richmond, VT
    Estimated Federal Funding: $247,048
    This project will implement a marketing campaign using direct mailings, financial and technical support for area farmers markets, provide outreach and education to community partners on SNAP acceptance at farmers markets, and provide supplies to markets for successful EBT programs.
  51. The CSU, Chico Research Foundation – Increased EBT Participation in North Valley Farmers’ Markets
    Chico, CA
    Estimated Federal Funding: $250,000
    The Chico Research Foundation will use funds to develop and implement a SNAP outreach and marketing campaign, purchase SNAP signage and other supplies, farmers market staff will be trained on SNAP operations and program strategies, host market tours to promote EBT use at the market, and cooking demonstrations will be held to encourage eating more fruits and vegetables.
  52. North Carolina State University – More In My Basket at the Market
    Wake, NC
    Strike Force State
    Estimated Federal Funding: $248,530
    This project will provide outreach and information to community SNAP-clients, marketing materials published and distributed to SNAP-clients, provide market tours to SNAP-recipients, and cooking demonstrations.

Visitor counts

Over the last few months (and years really), I have spent a great deal of time asking people for input into valid ways to count market visitors, and in researching how other sectors (festivals, fairs and city planning for example) conduct these counts. Most researchers working with markets recognize that asking them to do what is commonly called a full count is unlikely to happen at most markets. So they employ some version of a sample counting system where, for one time span everyone is counted and that is used as a representative total for the entire day.

The research team at University of Wisconsin-Madison led by Dr. Morales working with Farmers Market Coalition in their combined AFRI-funded Indicators for Impact three year project, is piloting a method of 20-minute intervals counts at entrances every hour for the 9 markets in the pilot. That method certainly has the potential for a more precise estimate than the method currently used by many markets of counting everyone within the market for one time slot each hour. By the way, here is an update on that project.

In all cases of market counts however, the labor required taxes the market leadership and the methods used have not been found to be entirely accurate or appropriate for the many types and layouts of markets that exist across the US.

Still, we keep trying and know that sooner or later, the technology will be available to make this easier for markets and other food system projects. Seems like it is closer than ever, based on the article I found recently about a study to analyze pedestrian and transportation uses in one city which mentions one company that provides counting tools and analyzes those counts, often using existing cameras. The cost is still uncomfortably high for markets, but when technology adapts, products often become more suitable to our odd little world of pop up tents and milling groups of people.

Stay tuned in other words; the possibility is very close for precise counts of visitors for markets, which in turn will allow for better data use and more support for our hard-working markets.

Seating at Markets

Qualitative Data

in case you think data collection is dreary, check out what this market did for National Farmers Market Week. These kinds of quotes can liven up reports to your funders, impress municipalities and rejuvenate vendors.
Think of how you might ask a specific question about a product (“what do you do with your creole tomatoes?”) or have visitors describe if and how they have ever brought market food to someone else (“I bring bread once a month to my neighbor who loves it”) as other ways you can use this method.
Visible collection and use of visual data can make the market seem proactive and engaged with their community.

Why do you love #comofarmersmarket? #moretomarket #farmmktwk

A photo posted by Columbia Farmer’s Market (@columbiafarmersmarket) on Aug 11, 2015 at 9:40am PDT

Responsive Web Design for Non-Profits’ Customers

The average person worldwide has five social media accounts and spends an average of 1 hour and 40 minutes browsing these networks every day on any number of devices. Therefore using what is termed “responsive web design” is vital. It means that the information is optimized for whatever device it is being seen on with a minimum of scrolling or resizing.
The site Non-Profit Tech picked three sites offered by non-profits that they think are especially good at this and I think additionally that one of the three, Pittsburghkids.org, is just a very useful site for markets to view. Simply designed and easily navigated, it offers a lot for those new to the site and yet has easy-to-find shortcuts to get into the site if you are a return visitor.
Nice to hear in the original story that non-profits were the pioneers of the use of social media, adding content and varied ways for their community to see and reach them long before businesses bought into the idea.

National Farmers Market Week: August 2-8, 2015

Isn’t it great that the best way to celebrate this is to visit a farmers market?
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