Just listened to a very informative annual member meeting presented by the leadership of our national farmers market advocate, the Farmers Market Coalition as they shared the work done over the last year, outlined priorities for 2014/2015 and answered questions from the membership.

Here is the link to the recording of the meeting:
LINK

If you are not a member of this excellent organization, do consider it: everyone can be members, not just farmers market organizations:
Join here

Tomorrow is another holiday in the New Orleans area and in many other Italian-American areas- St. Joseph’s Day. St. Joseph is the patron saint of the island of Sicily and it’s said during the famines of the Middle Ages, residents prayed to St. Joseph to deliver them, and the altars are built in thanks on his feast day, March 19.In the late 19th century, New Orleans was a major port of immigration for Italians from Sicily. Many settled in the French Quarter, nicknamed “Little Palermo” at the time. Devout Catholics promise altars for answered prayers and favors granted, such as healing or safe delivery.The food on an altar is supposed to be donated, or “begged.” Countless people work on the altars: Altar societies, church members, Catholic and non-Catholic spend untold hours, starting at the beginning of the year. Many New Orleaniains try to make a “pilgrimage” to a number of altars on the feast day, to churches, store and even to private homes.

 

and for those of you looking, those who secretly steal a lemon from a St. Joseph’s Day altar will get a husband. For those not in the search, you can just ask for a fava bean: Legend has it that you will never be broke as long as you carry a fava bean.

St. Joseph's Day Altar

St. Joseph’s Day Altar

As some of you know, I believe that the era of mission-driven farmers markets has just begun and that how we view our work needs to expand to help the farmers and buyers that we work with. In that mindset, we should begin to examine the idea of public markets entirely devoted to restaurant/grocer (then wholesale) sales of local goods, curated with the same intention and mission by those of us that currently manage retail farmers markets.
In order to do that, we should learn from wholesale terminals such as this one in Canada. I found a couple of things within this article about the Ontario Terminal fascinating. My notes are in italics.

In less than 40 seconds, DiLiso has placed his order: cabbage, cipollini onions, bean sprouts and bok choy. Na enters the data on a hand-held digital device then, with a mutual nod, moves on to another client, leaving DiLiso to gather up his vegetables.
That’s how deals are done at The Ontario Food Terminal, the giant U-shaped building on 16 hectares off the Queensway in west Toronto: friendly, no-nonsense, fast.

(Notice the ability to enter sales on a hand held device?)

———————————–

DiLiso and his small crew criss-cross the market to find sellers they trust who have the best deals on vegetables.
“It’s all about relationships,” DiLiso says.

(I dunno- it sounds like it is as much about price?)

Ontario Terminal story

This week, the full Senate will take up the Farm Bill and $4.1 billion in cuts to SNAP are included. 

 You can join advocates in opposing these cuts here:

http://www.phi.org/policy-advocacy/take-action-oppose-cuts-to-snap-and-snap-ed/

One of the pieces in the Vermont Market Currency Feasibility Report was the addition of a table of useful, current research on EBT at markets, collected and designed for me by the also useful and current Farmers Market Coalition. Here is a link to that 3-page table.

EBT table