The Georgia Farmers Market Association https://mygeorgiamarket.org Supporting producers, provide technical assistance to market management and improve healthy food access to consumers. Thu, 22 Jun 2017 16:45:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8 Supporting producers, provide technical assistance to market management and improve healthy food access to consumers. The Georgia Farmers Market Association Supporting producers, provide technical assistance to market management and improve healthy food access to consumers. The Georgia Farmers Market Association https://mygeorgiamarket.org/content/plugins/powerpress/rss_default.jpg https://mygeorgiamarket.org Data: The Farming Defense Mechanism https://mygeorgiamarket.org/data-farming-defense-mechanism/ https://mygeorgiamarket.org/data-farming-defense-mechanism/#respond Tue, 21 Mar 2017 19:07:28 +0000 https://mygeorgiamarket.org/?p=5068 There exists an underlying idea that data is an annoying tool that is used in the academic realm for science and theory. To many, ‘data collection’ brings to mind images of stuffy scientists conducting field experiments for an academic journal. In fact, data collection almost seems inaccessible, reserved for major academic institutions and research teams. […]

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There exists an underlying idea that data is an annoying tool that is used in the academic realm for science and theory. To many, ‘data collection’ brings to mind images of stuffy scientists conducting field experiments for an academic journal. In fact, data collection almost seems inaccessible, reserved for major academic institutions and research teams. For that reason, it may be hard to see the importance of collecting data for a smaller scale, like a farm or a market. Tracking the progress of a plot of heirloom tomatoes over time may seem like a casual annoyance in the scope of all that you have to do to get your product to market.

Small farmers have consistently faced challenges bringing their food to market. Policy and subsidies favor large-scale growers in a way that can make it difficult for smaller operations to compete. As agricultural funding garners more attention in the political realm, the uncertainties that farming faces can appear magnified for small-scale growers.

For perspective, the federal funds that support agriculture are covered under the FARM bill ( a bill used to fund nutrition and agricultural programs across the US) in the amount of $489 billion, a fraction of which directly supports small-scale farming.

The FARM bill break-down:

  • The FARM bill = $489 billion USD
  • Of this $489 billion, 79% of it is allocated to SNAP/nutrition programs which accounts for ~ $400 billion USD
  • The remaining 21% goes to:
    • Crop insurance, commodity programs, conservation, etc.

The bill goes up for renewal every four years, making 2018 its next renewal cycle. Of the 21% of the bill used to cover agricultural programs, a smaller fraction has direct benefits to farmers. With so much on the chopping block in this renewal cycle, it is imperative that farmers find ways to defend the funds allocated to small-medium scale farming.

The work to preserve the unique space that small scale farming has in food production becomes increasingly fragile because preservation, at its core, is a mechanism of defense. At this point in time, the best defensive move that can be made to preserve small-scale farming lies in the data. Think of data as a way to tell a story through numbers. Data can be used to communicate success, production and output, how well a certain program or product did at increasing yields, the number of visitors and much more. These stories need to be communicated to policy makers.  As the FARM Bill goes up for renewal in 2018, we must find ways to engage in the fight to fund small-scale agriculture, and collecting data is the best way to do that.

GFMA is developing a number of resources to collect and aggregate data on behalf of farmers and markets across the state. We are inspired by our hard-working membership base to develop these tools. We know the impact that farmers and our local markets have in shaping community, and we recognize how important it is to have research-based representation in the coming years. GFMA aims to support the efforts of local growers in Georgia. There is no better way to do that than to encourage our members to take the lead in data collection.

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From Farmers Markets to Food Policy https://mygeorgiamarket.org/farmers-markets-food-policy/ https://mygeorgiamarket.org/farmers-markets-food-policy/#respond Tue, 14 Feb 2017 18:12:10 +0000 https://mygeorgiamarket.org/?p=3075 There is no doubt that farmers markets can help cultivate community in areas that they are planted. We see it at the weekly markets all the time- meaningful conversations and community relationships formed over pesto recipes and fresh pressed juices. Beyond these conversations, we are seeing how farmers markets also have the ability to extend […]

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There is no doubt that farmers markets can help cultivate community in areas that they are planted. We see it at the weekly markets all the time- meaningful conversations and community relationships formed over pesto recipes and fresh pressed juices. Beyond these conversations, we are seeing how farmers markets also have the ability to extend from the local arena into the realm of policy. This past summer, The Georgia Farmers Market Association, through its partnership with Sustainable Norcross was able to bear witness and offer support to a community challenge that is now gaining traction with the school board.

A group of young women from Summerour Middle School expressed their displeasure with the food options in their cafeteria to Karla Blaginin, a Norcross community member and GFMA statistician. When asked why, the students expressed that the food was unappealing, both visually and in terms of taste. The girls observed that a number of the students in their school would throw their food away and go hungry for the same reasons. Many of them stated that the fruit in particular was often preserved in syrups, or simply looked “like plastic”. The students wanted fruit that was flavorful and looked like foods they were used to eating at home. Many of them enjoyed traditional Mexican fruit cups, an arrangement of fresh, sliced fruit, sprinkled in crushed chili powder. With the student population at Summerour being close to 80% Latino, this proposition seemed fitting. Incorporating cultural traditions into has proven to be an effective way to introduce healthy meal options and the likelihood that the food will be consumed.

Mrs. Blaginin saw this problem as an opportunity for more dialogue. She expressed concern for the  food waste that was occurring in the cafeteria, but found the fact that the children were not eating at lunch to be a bigger problem. At a meeting with the school board, Karla expressed that, “its not about good calories or bad calories if the kids are not consuming any calories at lunch. Not eating at all has a negative affect on their health and performance in school.” By tackling the issue of making food options more appealing to students, Karla proposed the opportunity to address both food waste and hunger.

She believed that the opportunity to address this problem could expand into an avenue for greater dialogue, and a great teaching moment. With their parents’ approval (and involvement) Karla got to work with the young ladies.  They asked their peers for feedback on the food and used the feedback to create a presentation about their concerns about the food options and waste in their cafeteria. The girls and their parents set up a booth at the Norcross Community Market to make the community aware of the food waste phenomenon as well as the reasons for it. They presented a petition to change the fruit selection to include the Mexican fruit cups, a petition that amassed over 200 signatures! In January, the girls presented to a number of community members and school officials, including principals, counselors and educators. They were invited to present to the Gwinnett County School and Nutrition Board, and received a warm, engaging reception. The county has agreed to begin making the suggested plans toward diversifying the cafeteria meal suggestions this February!

We are so thrilled to see how a neat project that began in a local market has evolved into producing policy changes that is impacting nutritional outcomes for children in the community. We are excited about where this will lead and hope that the work that Karla and these young women have produced will inspire farmers markets to take the lead on nutritional policy across Georgia.

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$5,000 Opportunity for Organic Farmers in Georgia https://mygeorgiamarket.org/5000-opportunity-organic-farmers-georgia/ https://mygeorgiamarket.org/5000-opportunity-organic-farmers-georgia/#respond Fri, 10 Feb 2017 22:52:05 +0000 https://mygeorgiamarket.org/?p=3069 Through its recent partnership with Tuskegee University, the Georgia Farmers Market Association will be providing an opportunity for local, organic farmers to receive up to $5,000 by participating in a research study. GFMA invites certified organic  and soon-to-be organic farmers to participate in a unique research opportunity to provide soil and harvest samples for Tuskegee […]

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Through its recent partnership with Tuskegee University, the Georgia Farmers Market Association will be providing an opportunity for local, organic farmers to receive up to $5,000 by participating in a research study.

GFMA invites certified organic  and soon-to-be organic farmers to participate in a unique research opportunity to provide soil and harvest samples for Tuskegee University. Supplies are provided and farmers are compensated with $5,000! Supplies include organic seeds, pesticides and fertilizers (of your choosing from Tuskegee University’s seed bank)!

This is a two-year research opportunity beginning in 2018, and farmers will be paid $2,500 for each year that they participate. From the produce harvested, the university asks that farmers are willing to sell what they grow. Food that is not sold will be purchased by the university (at market price), with the expectation that farmers donate what cannot be sold. This project, “Strengthening Organic Farming Infrastructure through Consumer Education, Market Development and Integrated Extension and Research Programs in the Southeastern Region,” is sponsored by USDA/OREI Program for Tuskegee University and selected southeast land grant universities with other partners.

The research does not begin until 2018, but selection starts now! For more details and for the opportunity to join this unique opportunity, apply here! You don’t want to miss out on this incredible opportunity.

The Georgia Farmers Market Association is facilitating this exciting opportunity for GFMA member farmers. Click here  to join GFMA and learn all of the amazing benefits of membership.

 

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GFMA Partners with Oldways to Provide Food Demonstration Training https://mygeorgiamarket.org/gfma-partners-oldways-provide-food-demonstration-training/ https://mygeorgiamarket.org/gfma-partners-oldways-provide-food-demonstration-training/#respond Wed, 11 Jan 2017 16:21:31 +0000 https://mygeorgiamarket.org/?p=3002 GFMA is excited to announce its partnership with the Oldways, a heritage cooking program that aims to inspire healthy eating through traditional diets. Oldways has sought out traditional eating habits from around the world, with certified instructors who engage their community in learning the culturally specific dietary traditions. You may be familiar with the organization […]

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GFMA is excited to announce its partnership with the Oldways, a heritage cooking program that aims to inspire healthy eating through traditional diets. Oldways has sought out traditional eating habits from around the world, with certified instructors who engage their community in learning the culturally specific dietary traditions. You may be familiar with the organization for its well known Whole Grain Stamp or the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid. Their aim is to encourage eating practices that are culturally relevant, optimal for good health and good for the planet.

To integrate this practice of using cultural foods to improve health outcomes, the Georgia Farmers Market Association and Oldways have partnered to offer the African Heritage & Health program to communities across our state.  Their six week course: A Taste of African Heritage Cooking Classes blends nutrition and cultural history with simple, delicious cooking techniques, to inspire a whole new way of eating-through the “old ways”.  GFMA will host an Oldways training pilot conducted by Oldways staff this Spring, and is working on funding to sponsor producers and market managers in select communities.

It has been suggested that reintroducing a cultural cuisine that more closely aligns with individuals’ heritage cooking my yield a more positive relationship with their food, and thus, with their health. The Oldways African Heritage course has seen success, with an average weight loss of 6 pounds amongst participants! These incredible results demonstrate the impact that heritage cooking can offer. GFMA is thrilled to be a part of this incredible initiative, and welcomes you to consider offering the program in your community. Participants will be trained in a ‘teach the teacher’ style workshop that will equip participants with the tools and information on how to offer the course in their community.

If you’d like to stay informed as the training and funding opportunities , please fill out an interest form here.

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FMM Pro: SUNY Farmers Market Managers Certification Program https://mygeorgiamarket.org/fmm-pro-suny-farmers-market-managers-certification-program/ https://mygeorgiamarket.org/fmm-pro-suny-farmers-market-managers-certification-program/#respond Tue, 10 Jan 2017 20:42:21 +0000 https://mygeorgiamarket.org/?p=2995 The Georgia Farmers Market Association is committed to increasing access to local foods across the state of Georgia. Throughout history, farmers markets have been the hub for buying and selling local foods all over the world, a tradition carried out in communities in Georgia to this day. While farmers markets have been a staple of […]

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The Georgia Farmers Market Association is committed to increasing access to local foods across the state of Georgia. Throughout history, farmers markets have been the hub for buying and selling local foods all over the world, a tradition carried out in communities in Georgia to this day. While farmers markets have been a staple of most communities, they have been met with obstacles that challenge their ability to effectively serve the local community.

One problem that can directly challenge a market’s existence is its ability to retain the market manager. Market managers serve the market by aggregating local farmers, managing the  market’s operations, creating funding opportunities and marketing opportunities. The work of a market manager can be difficult, and many times it follows a learn-as-you-go training model. When there are questions or challenges that present themselves, market managers do not always have someone to turn to. Without the additional layer of support or background knowledge that managers in other fields may have, market managers may face many of their challenges alone.

GFMA has observed these challenges and spoke directly with managers all over Georgia to better understand how to address them. We are now happy to introduce our partnership with the State University of New York (SUNY) Market Manager Certification Program! SUNY provides 22 workshop experience aimed at preparing market managers for the market season and addressing the challenges that they may face.  While the modules are scheduled to occur once a week through May, some weeks will have two modules scheduled.GFMA will be introducing the certification program through a pilot beginning January 18 though May 31, 2016 to a select group of markets. Beyond this, markets are allowed to join at any time (the program must be completed in a year).

Through GFMA’s partnership with SUNY, Georgia will be one of the first states to certify market managers in the country! We are thrilled about this new partnership and cannot wait to begin this step to enhancing the farmers market experience across Georgia. If you would like to be considered for the pilot, sign up here!

For information on the SUNY Certification program, check out their website: http://www.nyfarmersmarket.com/fmm-pro-suny-farmers-market-managers-certification-program/

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GFMA Introduces Nourish: A Guide to Incorporating Local Food at the Family Table https://mygeorgiamarket.org/gfma-introduces-nourish-guide-incorporating-local-food-family-table/ https://mygeorgiamarket.org/gfma-introduces-nourish-guide-incorporating-local-food-family-table/#respond Tue, 10 Jan 2017 20:37:40 +0000 https://mygeorgiamarket.org/?p=2993 In the farmers market space, one thing that we have found to be an incredible selling point is the quality of the food. In our member markets, we have found there to be no better way to communicate this than to engage shoppers in hands-on, experiential learning. Markets have historically achieved this through food samples […]

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In the farmers market space, one thing that we have found to be an incredible selling point is the quality of the food. In our member markets, we have found there to be no better way to communicate this than to engage shoppers in hands-on, experiential learning. Markets have historically achieved this through food samples in the hopes of getting shoppers to taste the difference in quality. The Georgia Farmers Market Association took this model of experiential learning and redesigned it into Nourish, a 12 week outreach program designed to engage and inform not just the consumer, but the market manager themselves. It takes the effectiveness of offering samples and transforms it into an interactive, on-site cooking experience where shoppers can learn how to create meals using market produce. Nourish offers market outreach coordinators an opportunity to have an in-depth learning experience on how to create engaging food demonstrations at their markets. The curriculum was developed by GFMA’s Executive Director, Sagdrina Jalal and certified RAW foods educator, Carla de Rosa. The course walks participants through methods of preparing food that are best suited for farmers markets and emphasizes meal preparation that is seasonal and local.

In a culture that has prioritized understanding the health benefits of food, learning how to inform your audience of the nutritional value of the food available at the market can be a huge selling point. It also fosters a level of community engagement that leaves shoppers feeling appreciated and informed, which can increase shopper loyalty. GFMA is offering Nourish at no cost to member markets, and in fact offers a $600 stipend for the participating outreach coordinator. Read the list below to see all that Nourish has to offer!

  • Nourish training led by GFMA’s Sagdrina Jalal and Food Educator Carla De Rosa
  • A $600 stipend for a Market Outreach Coordinator (can be Market Manager)
  • Reimbursement for food used in approved demonstrations (must be purchased from growers at your market).
  • Outreach Marketing Materials
  • Access to a food demonstration kit complete with everything needed to have a successful food demonstration
  • Ongoing technical assistance by the GFMA team

Considerations when choosing markets to participate in this Program:

  • Current Member 2017 of the Georgia Farmers Market Association (required-join here)
  • Market must have current FNS number (required)
  • Market must accept SNAP/EBT (required)
  • Geographic Diversity (we are looking for markets all over Georgia)
  • Market season must have a market season of at least 12 weeks (required)
  • Previous participation in Wholesome Wave’s FM Tracks program (not required but considered)
  • Access to an iPad or iPad mini

GFMA’s newly developed Food Education Outreach program Nourish will be available to Member Markets the 2017 farmers market season. For more information on Nourish, sign up here!

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GFMA Raised Beds Initiative https://mygeorgiamarket.org/community-raised-beds-initiative/ https://mygeorgiamarket.org/community-raised-beds-initiative/#respond Thu, 27 Oct 2016 20:01:16 +0000 https://mygeorgiamarket.org/?p=1949 The Community Raised Bed Initiative is the result of a collaboration between the The Upper Ocmulgee River RC&D/USDA-NRCS, The Georgia Farmers Market Association and various community partners within metro-Atlanta. The initiative aims to foster community awareness, appreciation and access to local food by installing raised beds in gardens throughout the region. The project will facilitate […]

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The Community Raised Bed Initiative is the result of a collaboration between the The Upper Ocmulgee River RC&D/USDA-NRCS, The Georgia Farmers Market Association and various community partners within metro-Atlanta. The initiative aims to foster community awareness, appreciation and access to local food by installing raised beds in gardens throughout the region. The project will facilitate the installation of 15 beds in eight locations.

The following locations have received the raised beds:

Gwinnett Bed Placement

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The Greenhouse: Georgia Farmers Market Association

The Georgia Farmers Market Association hosts a community garden in Downtown Norcross in partnership with the Norcross Senior Center. Several seniors associated with the Center work the garden. The garden also supplements the food needs for area families. We record the output of the garden as well as volunteer hours.  We have a volunteer work day scheduled for Sunday, October 9th. It would be great if the beds can be installed on that day as well.

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Summerour Middle School 

The existing garden program continues to thrive under the direction of Gardens4GrowingCommunity (G4GC) and its supporting partners. While teachers and students regularly utilize the site, the next phase of the program is to develop the site’s ability to produce more food more consistently for the community. By adding raised beds to a section of the venue designated as the “community garden”, more produce will be available to support the envisioned student-managed CSA, and this area dedicated to community gardening will become more inviting and engaging.

Lilburn Middle School 

Lilburn’s environment stewardship club “Team Green” has a strong foundation and history at this school, with 24 active members (the club’s full membership capacity) and a waiting list of eager students. Traditionally, students have managed the school’s recycling program; however this year, in addition to recycling, they voted to start a school garden. To date, students have been encouraged to take the lead in the development of their garden, and have fully engaged in its concept development, design and site selection. G4GC and the Team Green teachers are working together to establish a sustainable student-managed garden program that will benefit all students in the school both academically and socially.

Norcross Elementary School 

NES has a small gardening program in place, with 6 raised beds that are regularly used by several teachers to support academics. Large class sizes are a challenge and having more gardening space available would allow more teachers to provide their students with meaningful garden-based experiences, as more students could then individually engage in planting seeds and weeding.

SUMMARY:

All of these sites are in cities determined to be food deserts. All 3 of the schools are Title 1, majority minority and serving low-wealth communities in Gwinnett County. All 3 schools are supported by Gardens4GrowingCommunity with the intent of training teachers to incorporate the gardens across interdisciplinary academics as well as working with PTA members, teachers and school administrators to make it a policy to engage the community and ensure a sustained gardening program.

Dekalb County Bed Placement

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Sweet Potato Cafe, Stone Mountain- Contact Kwabena Nkromo

This restaurant is creating an Edible School yard on the property expanding the existing small community garden they currently have on site. The beds will be used to connect area school age students to the food grown in the restaurant incorporating farm to table and farm to school curriculums.

Ujima Community Garden, (in Lithonia City Park) (2beds)

 Charlene Edwards – Action Not Words Project

 678-551-4744

 https://www.theactionnotwordsproject.org/

Lucious Sanders Recreation Center

 Marcus

 2484 Bruce St

 Lithonia 30058

 770-482-0408

 Stoneview Elementary School –

Ms. Ledra Jemison, Principal

2629 Huber St

Lithonia 30058

678-676-3202

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GFMA Member Market Feature | WayGreen Local Fare Market https://mygeorgiamarket.org/gfma-member-market-feature-waygreen-local-fare-market/ https://mygeorgiamarket.org/gfma-member-market-feature-waygreen-local-fare-market/#respond Mon, 03 Oct 2016 19:39:36 +0000 https://mygeorgiamarket.org/?p=1896 As part of our feature series on GFMA member markets, we wanted to introduce you to the WayGreen Local Fare Market. In this feature, market manager Connie Oliver gives us insight into why markets are so important and how GFMA is working to support them. Browse through the Q&A below to learn more from Connie. […]

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As part of our feature series on GFMA member markets, we wanted to introduce you to the WayGreen Local Fare Market. In this feature, market manager Connie Oliver gives us insight into why markets are so important and how GFMA is working to support them. Browse through the Q&A below to learn more from Connie.

1. When and Why did your market start? The WayGreen Local Fare Market began in May 2015 on the grounds of the Okefenokee Heritage Center in Waycross, GA.  The market began out of the need for fresh local food to be made available to the people living in our city and surrounding area as well as to give local growers/farmers a venue to sell their product.

2. What makes your market unique?  The local fare market is unique in the fact that it not only offers a market where locally grown/produced food is made available but artisans, artists, musicians and craftsmen are welcome to offer their products/services as well.  Vendors are located within a 100 mile radius of Waycross and agree to a visit by one of the market committee before being accepted.   Another aspect making this market unique is in the fact that it is run completely by volunteers through the Homestead Guild of the Okefenokee Heritage Center.  The Homestead Guild was formed out of a desire to see people return to a more sustainable lifestyle living closer to the land by growing their own food and learning skills and training to assist in the “homestead” way of life.  The market is just one of the many projects that the guild has taken on since forming in 2014. One of the most unique things about our market is that we have our own house band, Millwood Drive, who plays each month for donations.  Free samples of items being offered by vendors on market day are cooked in unique ways and offered as samples by Chef Andy, Way Green’s resident local chef.

3. Give us an idea of what a typical market day looks like. What vendors are there and what type of products can shoppers find?  The WayGreen Local Fare Market is held outside on the grounds of the Okefenokee Heritage Center the first Saturday of each month May-November from 9am to 12 noon.  Since some of our vendors travel nearly two hours our day starts at 7am.  This gives the over 35 vendors plenty of time to set up before the over 700 customers arrive.  Our vendors include Georgia Olive Oil, Gayla’s Grits, Oliver Farms, Smith’s Family Dairy, Georgia Buffalo, Gilliard Farms, Bruce’s Nut N Honey and Tree House Macarons, which are all known statewide and beyond.  We also offer local food favorites Griffin’s Meats (pork & beef), Ft Mudge Farm (pastured pork), Southern Harvest Produce (hydroponic lettuce, herbs, greenhouse tomatoes), Greenway Gardens (chemical free produce), Rogers’ Farm (chemical free produce), Ga Country Clover (eggs), Tender Harvest Microgreens, as well as others offering jams, jellies, breads, eggs, beef jerky, cow milk, goat milk, cupcakes and crepes. Our artisans offer goat milk & vegan soaps/lotions, woodcrafts, hand spun/dyed yarn, jewelry, pine needle baskets, art, photography, decorative gourds, fishing lures, compost teas as well plants and flowers.  The offerings change monthly.

4. What’s the one thing you wished people understood about farmers markets, farmers and/or the work that you do?  Spending money with your local farmers, growers and artisans not only supports those people but it also supports our local economy.  Knowing how your food was grown and who grew it can help people feel secure in the safety of their food choices.  Sometimes prices at local markets are higher that at the big box grocer.  If people take the time to know what goes into growing the food, it helps understand why things cost what they do.  Education is important to show the care, concern, time and money that local farmers put into the product(s) they make available.

5. Why do you think local markets are important to communities?  Way Green Local Fare Market patrons continue to say how much needed the market was and how grateful they are to have it made available.  The market not only offers people local food choices but it also is giving a sense of place to those who attend. The Local Fare Market is the “front porch” of days gone by where people would gather to sing, eat, meet their family and friends to catch up on all the local happenings.  Communities need outlets like the market to reconnect to those growing their food, making local products and the community in general.

6. How is GFMA assisting you and your market in connecting people to local food?  GFMA provides us with tools and resources we would not be able to get otherwise.  Already we have received exposure for the market that is proving to be invaluable through the efforts of GFMA.  We recently purchased wooden tokens that we use as “cash” at the market through an offer made by GFMA.  GFMA gives us further exposure through social media and other marketing campaigns.

7. Is there anything I haven’t asked that you’d like to mention?  This year, Way Green Local Fare Market received AgSouth’s “Think Outside The Store”.  This enabled the market to receive much need marketing funds, as well as reusable market bags for our customers.  The grant also helped launch a weekly “Truck Market” giving  farmers/growers/producers another outlet to sell their product and consumers a weekly opportunity to buy local food.

To learn more about the Waygreen Local Fare Market, visit their webpage.

Connie Oliver is the market manager for Local Fare Market. Fresh produce like pumpkins and kale greet shoppers on market day. Delicious deserts are just a few of the products offered on market day. More than 500 shoppers visit the market on busy market days. Volunteers help make the Local Fare Market a success each season.

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GFMA Member Market Feature | Forsyth Farmers Market https://mygeorgiamarket.org/gfma-member-market-feature-forsyth-farmers-market/ https://mygeorgiamarket.org/gfma-member-market-feature-forsyth-farmers-market/#respond Mon, 12 Sep 2016 21:07:18 +0000 https://mygeorgiamarket.org/?p=1695 As part of our feature series on GFMA member markets, we wanted to introduce you to the Forsyth Farmers Market. In this feature, market manager Teri Schell gives us insight into why markets are so important and how GFMA is working to support them. Browse through the Q&A below to learn more from Teri. 1. […]

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As part of our feature series on GFMA member markets, we wanted to introduce you to the Forsyth Farmers Market. In this feature, market manager Teri Schell gives us insight into why markets are so important and how GFMA is working to support them. Browse through the Q&A below to learn more from Teri.

1. When and Why did your market start? Forsyth Farmers’ Market started in May 2009. We merged with an existing market in Savannah, Starland Market, and moved to Forsyth Park for the shade, foot traffic and proximity to other healthy businesses — Sentient Bean and Brighter Day Natural Foods.

2. What makes your market unique? We focus on farmers and food access — 70% of our accepted vendors are farmers, with the other 30% balanced between unique prepared food and horticulture vendors.  Our location is also unique — Forsyth Park is a 30 acre beauty on the edge of the historic district in Savannah. In Savannah, we think of Forsyth Park as the living room of the community — everyone feels comfortable there and locals and visitors travel the same sidewalks that we set up on each Saturday. We also have a mobile farmers’ market, Farm Truck 912, that sources from our farmers market vendors and visits under-served neighborhoods during the week for those who either can’t attend on Saturday’s or has mobility issues.

3. Give me an idea of what a typical market day looks like. What vendors are there and what type of products can shoppers find? We are open from 9am-1pm every Saturday at least 50 weeks of the year. We start loading in as early as 6:30am as we are not allowed to drive in Forsyth Park, so we must load in the hard way, with handcarts and a 4 wheeled cart with trailer. It’s a hive of activity but we manage to make it all happen and then have a variety of produce, nuts, grains, pastured meats, eggs, dairy, cheese, bread, baked goods, coffee, pasta, and frozen prepared meals from Italian to Indian.
4. What’s the one thing you wished people understood about farmers markets, farmers and/or the work that you do?

Farmers are not getting rich but they do love and honor their work. I hear grumbling that prices are high or that it’s so busy at the market, that farmers must be getting rich and that’s simply not true. It takes an enormous amount of work to get product to market and even when the farmers’ market is packed solid with people, most of our vendors do not sell out. So it may appear like lots of money is exchanging hands, but when you break it down per Vendor for just 4 hours a week (for the massive amount of physical labor they had to put in before, after and during the market), that money starts to look very different. However, despite the fact that no one is getting rich, farmers are often incredibly happy to get to do the work. They are proud of what they do and don’t do it for the love of money but for the love of growing good food for good people.

5. Why do you think local markets are important to communities? Local markets sustain local food producers, generate income within the local economy and build community among really wonderful people.

6. How is GFMA assisting you and your market in connecting people to local food? The GFMA provides resources that allow us to do our work better and connect with other markets across the state to share best practices.

7. Is there anything I haven’t asked that you’d like to mention? We are launching an app thanks to a grant from the USDA’s Farmers Market Promotion Program!  We feel that the app will help us reach the audience that depends on their phones to remind them of tasks, and we wanted local food procurement to be one of their weekly tasks. Check out our app here: https://yumberly.com/apps/forsyth-farmers-market/.

Learn more about the Forsyth Farmers Market, here.

Orange Bell Peppers Southern Style Grits Fairy Tale Eggplants Mushrooms Papaya Peach Salsa

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GFMA Member Market Feature | Tucker Farmers Market https://mygeorgiamarket.org/gfma-member-market-feature-tucker-farmers-market/ https://mygeorgiamarket.org/gfma-member-market-feature-tucker-farmers-market/#respond Fri, 26 Aug 2016 15:28:22 +0000 https://mygeorgiamarket.org/?p=1687 As part of our feature series on GFMA member markets, we wanted to introduce you to the Tucker Farmers Market. In this feature, market manager Nancy Qarmout gives us insight into why markets are so important and how GFMA is working to support them. Browse through the Q&A below to learn more from Nancy. 1. […]

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As part of our feature series on GFMA member markets, we wanted to introduce you to the Tucker Farmers Market. In this feature, market manager Nancy Qarmout gives us insight into why markets are so important and how GFMA is working to support them. Browse through the Q&A below to learn more from Nancy.

1. When and Why did your market start? The Tucker Farmers Market started in the spring of 2012, based on an observed need in our community.

2. What makes your market unique? Tucker is a strong, close knit community that has enveloped our vendors into the community. Plus, we try to maintain a fun and family-oriented atmosphere that will keep customers returning.
3. Give me an idea of what a typical market day looks like. What vendors are there and what type of products can shoppers find? Our evening market consists of a variety of local farmers and producers. Our aim is to provide a full-spectrum grocery shopping experience for our customers. We also build on Tucker‘s tradition of fostering local music by inviting musicians to play every week. Local businesses and community organizations are invited — one or two per week — to highlight their goods and services. And, on the first Thursday of every month, we host food trucks.
4. What’s the one thing you wished people understood about farmers markets, farmers and/or the work that you do?
That the work is a bit thankless! We sure don’t do this for the big bucks, but we love the way markets created connectedness among people and to the physical community.
Learn more about the Tucker Farmers Market, here.
Food Truck at the Tucker Farmers Market Fresh Garlic Fresh Peaches Strawberries

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