The Importance of National Farmers Market Week August 5-11, 2018

First, let me share the link to the excellent campaign materials that we at FMC have been creating and amassing for the last year:
https://farmersmarketcoalition.org/national-farmers-market-week/

In a nutshell, the job of NFMW is to spotlight the importance of farmers markets to policymakers, to consumers and to farmers. It’s a campaign and it lasts one week per year.
With more than 8,600 farmers markets operating in the U.S., many among us may think we have made our work visible to most people.I’d beg to differ. With visitor attendance at those markets ranging from around a hundred to thousands, I’d bet that we attract around 2, maybe 3 million regular visitors each year. That sounds impressive but remember the population of the US is around 326 million. So 0.6134969325153374 of 1 percent. Or maybe 0.9202453987730062 of 1 percent.
Less than 1 percent.
Look, I’m not trying to rain on our parade. I think we do mighty things with that less than 1% with impacts that clearly stretch to the corporate food sector to making resilient places, and to meaningful citizen engagement. Local and organic and place-based foods are a HOT trend, mostly due to the work we all do and the farms that battle development and industrialization. Please congratulate yourself and your vendors, and volunteers and board.
And then, lets’ set a goal to expand that number. Maybe to 2% by 2020. That’d be 6.5 million regular visitors. Imagine doubling your attendance in 18 months.

So how to do that? for one, remember my phrases from this blog for this year:
Don’t Hide the Hard Work
Function like a Network Whenever Possible

Tell the world about your market organization, not just about individual vendors.
Talk about the history of markets in your area, acknowledging the long line of organizers.
Make your website appealing and full on information for longtime shoppers and vendors and for new ones too.
Ask shoppers to make it to more than one market this week, even if one of those markets is not managed by your organization.
Drop off some materials to your community foundation or to your local elected officials.
Ask your municipality to use our template to designate NFMW officially.
Send out tweets and instagram photos of your market using the images and people and feel free to use whatever details FMC has that work for you.
Connect with other markets and write a letter to the editor together, inviting newbies to your market.
Create a “bring a friend” incentive for this week.
Ask your loyal shoppers to tweet and post on FB about the market.
Have a postcard campaign to your legislators about how the Farm Bill needs to protect farmers markets.

This campaign week is our best chance to share those impacts and to ask for partners to increase our capacity and viability to support farmers and other artisanal producers.
One last thing to do:
On market day this week, call your team together and give yourself a round of applause from all of us at FMC. We deeply admire our innovative and enthusiastic market leaders and try to do our best to tell you that often.
Now go ring that bell.

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NFMW coming soon: are you ready?

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack officially declared August 7 through August 13, 2016, as the 17th annual National Farmers Market Week, highlighting the key role that farmers markets play in bringing communities together around agriculture.

If you’re a market manager, USDA has resources to help you celebrate. USDA is offering free online National Farmers Market Week graphics and templates to help you customize posters, emails, websites and other promotional materials.  Customizing materials is easy with the help of a short demonstration video. Contact Peter Wood, AMS Public Affairs, for more information at (202) 720-6179 or via email at Peter.wood@ams.usda.gov.

 

(Also, check out FMC’s lovely and extremely useful NFMW media kit with examples of social media messages and more.)

Learn more about National Farmers Market Week:

 We’re kicking off a campaign where people share their favorite aspect of their farmers markets using the hashtag #marketfav with a photo of their favorite thing about the market.

 

Additional hashtags:

#LocalIsCool #MyFarmer, #MyRancher, #MyCommunity, #MyLunch, #MyIngredients, #MyProduce, #MyFiddler, #MyInspiration, #MySenses

 Follow AMS Twitter account: https://twitter.com/USDA_AMS

Update or add your markets in USDA’s Farmers Market Directories: http://usdalocalfooddirectories.com