WSFMA’s Response to USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) Request for Information About SNAP Retail Food Store Eligibility
On August 20, 2013 the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) issued a notice in the Federal Register requesting comments on strategies to enhance the retail food service eligibility requirements for SNAP (EBT) retailers. Read the full notice. One of WSFMA’s core beliefs is that everyone should have access to farmers markets and one of that ways that farmers markets can expand opportunities for low income people to shop at farmers markets is by accepting Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. On Monday, October 21, WSFMA submitted comments in response to this notice. The full letter can be accessed here.
Low-income residents access healthier food at farmers markets
Fresh Bucks program extends through the end of the year. Read more here...
Watch and share this new video with Karen Kinney, Executive Director of Washington State Farmers Market Association, and Chef Jason Brzozowy, Executive Chef of Tilth Restaurant in Seattle, as they showcase the variety of market fresh produce available peak season at farmers markets across Washington. The Sweet Corn & Pepper Salsa recipe featured during Farmers Market Week 2013 is inexpensive, simple to prepare, and easily combined with a variety of animal or vegetable protein and grains for a complete meal. In Chef Jason’s capable hands, preparation is a whiz!
In addition to the stunning sights and sounds of Columbia City Farmers Market in Seattle and the delightful kitchen scene with Chef Jason, the video delivers three simple messages:
Farmers markets are for everyone: they connect us with the folks who grow the food
Money spent at farmers markets stays in the community and spurs economic growth
Produce bought at farmers market is at the peak of freshness and nutritional value.
WSFMA Announces RFP Process for Annual Conference Coordination Services
The Washington State Farmers Market Association (WSFMA) is looking for a special person skilled in educational event coordination to help us plan and produce our annual conference to be held in Vancouver WA in late January 2014. The conference brings together about 150 passionate farmers market managers, direct marketing farmers, and state and community stakeholders who all care about farmers markets and are committed to their future. We spend two action-packed intensive days of training, with talks by national and regional leaders, workshops, and a variety of peer networking activities.
We are seeking proposals from interested people. Proposals are due by Friday, June 21, 2013 with a start date in mid-July. The entire RFP can be downloaded here. If you have questions or need additional information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 206-706-5198. We look forward to hearing from you!
Farmers markets 'in my blood'
... says WSFMA's 2012 Market Manager of the Year award winner, Julia Zander of Bremerton Farmers Market. Read more...
Editorial notebook: Spring has sprung at Washington’s farmers markets
by Lynne K. Varner, Seattle Times
Pay no attention to our hot/cold weather. The official opening of Washington state’s 150 farmers markets this month is the real harbinger of spring. Read the Seattle Times article
21 Acres and the Washington State Farmers Market Association Host Meeting with Congresswoman Suzan DelBene and Representatives from Sustainable Agriculture and Anti-Hunger and Pro-Nutrition Advocates.
The 21 Acres Center for Local Food and Sustainable Living and the Washington State Farmers Market Association (WSFMA) were pleased to jointly convene a meeting with Congresswoman Suzan DelBene, First Congressional District, and representatives from sustainable agriculture and anti-hunger organizations and statewide pro-nutrition advocates. The meeting was held at 21 Acres in Woodinville.
According to Robin Crowder, 21 Acres Marketing and Development Director and Board Member of WSFMA, “We hosted key leaders from nonprofit groups and farmers working for an improved food system to talk with Representative DelBene about federal policy and how it affects Washington State. The bottomline is that we were all very optimistic to hear how receptive Representative DelBene is to our statewide priorities. Because she serves on the Agriculture Committee and two related subcommittees, Rep DelBene is in a key position to advocate for improvements to the Farm Bill, other proposed related legislation and issues important to farmers here in Washington. Rep DelBene was asking excellent questions and seemed very open to ideas.”
The omnibus package of federal farm and food legislation, known as the “Farm Bill,” represents billions of dollars in government expenditures that set the farm, food, and rural policy goals and priorities for the United States. The legislation, renewed every five years, shapes policy related to: food stamps, food safety, research, economic development, environmental conservation and more. Congress passed the most recent version of this bill in 2008. Now US Lawmakers are embarking on the negotiations process for the 2012 Farm Bill. Representative DelBene is the only member of the Washington State congressional delegation to Washington, DC that sits on an Agriculture Committee. Advocates noted how pleased they were that Rep DelBene chose to be on this committee in recognition of the important role that farming, local food and federal nutrition programs play in her district. By serving on the Agriculture Committee and two related subcommittees: Subcommittee on Conservation, Energy, and Forestry Subcommittee on Horticulture, Research, Biotechnology, and Foreign Agriculture, Representative DelBene will be in a position to play a lead role in helping shape this legislation.
Karen Kinney, Executive Director of Washington State Farmers Market Association, expressed to Representative Del Bene, the importance of maintaining, and adequately funding federal programs that strengthen infrastructure to support direct marketing farmers such as the Farmers Market Promotion Program, the Specialty Crop Block Grant and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps). Claire Lane, Food Security Manager, WithinReach, described the severity of hunger and the poor state of health and nutrition in Washington State, stressing how our state’s low performance in this area is incongruous with our strong agricultural production and farming systems.
Meeting attendees included: Reverend Paul Benz, CoDirector, Faith Action Network; Kurt Tonnemaker, Farmer/Owner, Tonnemaker Family Orchard; Joel Wachs, Chair, Advocacy Team, Washington State Farmers Market Association; Nadiya Beckwith-Stanley, Food Policy Associate Children’s Alliance; Ariana Taylor-Stanley, Policy Coordinator, Tilth Producers of Washington; Gretchen Garth, Board Chair, 21 Acres Center for Local Food and Sustainable Living; Robin Crowder, Marketing & Development Director, 21 Acres Center for Local Food and Sustainable Living; Chris Curtis, Executive Director, Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance; Tammy Moralez, Principal, Urban Food Link; Claire Lane, Food Security Manager, WithinReach; Anne Schwartz, Owner, Blue Heron Farm; Christina Wong, Public Policy Manager, Northwest Harvest; Kristin Rezabek, Executive Director, Nutrition First; Karen Kinney, Executive Director, Washington State Farmers Market Association; Ellen Gray, Executive Director, Washington Sustainable Food and Farming Network and Congresswoman Suzan DelBene and staffer Patrick Hogan.
The Washington State Farmers Market Association represents 112 member farmers markets in 80 cities and towns around Washington State that generate over $40 million in sales to Washington farmers, small food processors and artisans. The association’s mission is to support vibrant and sustainable farmers markets in Washington State through member services, education and advocacy. www.wafarmersmarkets.com
21 Acres Center for Local Food and Sustainable Living is a comprehensive campus with a farm, school, commercial kitchen, market and green-built facility at 13701 NE 171st Street, Woodinville, WA 98072. All the programming and services offered through 21 Acres focus on the areas of Growing, Eating and Living. 21 Acres is located in the lush Sammamish Valley of East King County, near Woodinville. Address: 13701 NE 171st Ave., Woodinville, WA 98072. For more information visit, www.21acres.org.
Representative Suzan Delbene and Ellen Gray, WSFFN, review Federal Farm Bill issues and how they relate to Washington State farmers and low income residents.
21 Acres was pleased to host a meeting with Congresswoman Suzan Delbene to discuss federal agriculture issues and how they relate to economic opportunities for farmers and food access in Washington State.
Left to Right, Back Row:
Reverend Paul Benz, CoDirector, Faith Action Network
Kurt Tonnemaker, Farmer/Owner, Tonnemaker Family Orchard
Joel Wachs, Chair, Advocacy Team, Washington State Farmers Market Association
Nadiya Beckwith-Stanley, Food Policy Associate Children’s Alliance
Ariana Taylor-Stanley, Policy Coordinator, Tilth Producers of Washington
Left to Right, Front Row:
Gretchen Garth, Board Chair, 21 Acres Center for Local Food and Sustainable Living;
Chris Curtis, Executive Director, Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance
Tammy Moralez, Principal, Urban Food Link
Claire Lane, Food Security Manager, WithinReach
Anne Schwartz, Owner, Blue Heron Farm
Christina Wong, Public Policy Manager, Northwest Harvest
Kristin Rezabek, Executive Director, Nutrition First
Karen Kinney, Executive Director, Washington State Farmers Market Association
Ellen Gray, Executive Director, Washington Sustainable Food and Farming Network
Congresswoman Suzan DelBene
Preliminary report from the Washington State Liquor Control Board
The prelimiary report about the 2012 pilot wine/beer tasting at 10 farmers markets around the state is here. They are looking for comments and feedback. WSFMA will be submitting a comment letter supportive of their recommendations and will continue to keep you informed of what they are doing. There will be a workshop about this at the annual conference.
Keynote Speaker WSFMA Annual Conference (Jan 25-27, 2013)"Building a Better Market - Farmers Markets that Deliver for Farmers and Community"
Sharon Yeago began her grass roots community building almost 35 years ago in South Florida’s cultural scene. By 2000, she was relocated in North Florida's lush agricultural community. In 2005, she joined the national scene as a founding board member and Treasurer of the Farmers Market Coalition. She then led the organization as its President from 2009 to 2011 and is now once again its Treasurer. In that past dozen years, she has worked with Florida farmers, farmers markets, educators and policy makers to expand the local food movement throughout Florida. Sharon believes that access to healthy, locally grown food is essential to a healthy community and prosperous economy.
Sharon will be speaking on the national trends of farmers market along with conducting a workshop on "Advancing Your Market Through Alternative Partnerships." Farmers markets are key to economic vitality not only as a place of commerce but as a tool to reach at-risk populations, revive blighted areas and provide food access equality which affects health and well being of local residents. Identifying non-traditional partners in the community can bring new ideas and new funding mechanisms to support market operations and provide assurance that our triple bottom line goals are being met. This session will focus on existing funding streams and programs that are not normally considered when talking about local food. From economic development groups to federal and state agencies, there’s a lot of creative partnership that can be developed when the right folks are at the table.
Plus, you will be able to sign up and meet with Sharon during the popular "one-on-one" sessions.
Federal and State Proclamations announce Farmers Market Week, August 5 – 11, 2012!
The United States Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has proclaimed August 5-11, 2012 as National Farmers Market Week. This year marks the 13th Annual National Farmers Market Week, and it coincides with Washington State’s Farmers Market Week, as proclaimed by Governor Christine Gregoire, recognizing the important role that farmers markets play in the state’s agricultural and food economy.
Since the USDA began declaring National Farmers Market Week in 2000, the number of farmers markets across the country has more than doubled, from 2,863 markets in 2000 to more than 7,000 in 2012. Here, in Washington State there are approximately 160 markets and more are being planned for next season. 112 of these markets belong to the WSFMA.
The Washington State Farmers Market Association invites you to attend a farmers market in your community some time during this week. Farmers Markets across Washington State will be hosting special celebrations and events. On behalf of members, WSFMA is contacting state representatives and inviting them to attend markets in their districts to show their support and to bring recognition to the strength that markets are bringing to the local food economy. WSFMA has issued media advisories and a press release is slated to go out next week alerting press to all the activities. Come and help us celebrate Farmers Market Week!
Computer keeps small farm workable: Farmer shares her methods of multicropping
BREMERTON, Wash. -- Sharecropping between 1 and 2 acres, Andrea Wigglesworth provides enough produce to sell at three farmers' markets.
Showing a diagram of her growing plots on Wyckels Farm, in Washington's Kitsap County, she advised growers to "use everything you have on your property. Walk it and measure it, even the areas you hate. Note the attributes of wind, water and soil, and work with those limitations, not against them." click for full article
Planning draws urban tourists: Vacationers look to countryside as budgets dwindle
BREMERTON, Wash. -- As the sluggish economy cuts into people's vacation budgets, farmers can attract travelers who don't want to venture far from home.
To get copies to distribute to your group or through your business, just contact us 5/09/2011
Direct marketing takes high-tech twist: Buyers build connections to their food through Facebook, Twitter
BREMERTON, Wash. -- Farmers and farmers' markets have plugged into social networks to connect with their customers.
"The faithful shopper loves to know what's going to be at the next market," Jackie Aitchison said. "You can post photos fresh from your field during your harvest the day before." click for full article
President Joel Wachs interviewed on Local Radio during the WSFMA Annual Conference
Leavenworth, Washington, was the location for the 2011 Washington State Farmers Market Association Annual Conference. While in town Joel Wachs, WSFMA board president, spoke with the local radio station, KOHO 101.1FM. You can listen to the interview and hear more about the state of farmers markets across the state in the interview.
The Washington State Farmers Market Association (WSFMA) Board of Directors would like to announce a change in leadership of the organization with the appointment Karen Kinney as Interim Executive Director, effective Friday, January 21. Press Release
Farmers Market Technology Project Grants
WSU, in partnership with WSFMA, is offering mini-grants to Washington farmers markets that intend to increase sales of specialty crops for credit/debit/SNAP (food stamps) customers in their markets. ... more info
Great video from the Tacoma Farmers Market
University District ranks in Top 12 Farmers Markets Nationwide
This is what they have to say about the market: " The tourists might go to the famous Pike Place Market, but the locals (and the local farmers and chefs) are at the University District Farmers Market. On Saturdays, more than 50 farmers sell delicacies like fiddlehead ferns, raw cow and sheep's milk cheeses and Mangalitsa pork (a special breed of long-haired pig), as well as market staples like mushrooms, peppers and free-range eggs.Don't Miss: The 30 different varieties of apples with names like Cox's Orange Pippin and Prairie Spy. (Washington grows more apples than any other U.S. state.)” (see slide #10)
September 12-19, 2010 - Tilth Producers of Washington is promoting this statewide celebration of Washington organic agriculture - learn more
Votes Tallied for Best Farmers Markets in Washington
Congratulations to these markets for being voted in as the top 5 Farmers Markets in Washington State:
Ballard Farmers Market
Olympia Farmers Market
Auburn International Farmers Market
Prosser Farmers Market
University District Farmers Market - read more
Gov. Gregoire requests farm disaster assistance for 29 Washington counties
Gregoire makes request while on “Feeding Washington” tour of Eastern Washington
OLYMPIA – Gov. Chris Gregoire today, while on her “Feeding Washington” tour of Eastern Washington, announced she has asked U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to designate 29 counties in Washington as farm disaster areas due to weather-related losses to agricultural producers. The damage was the result of extreme weather conditions throughout the spring, including severe cold, high winds and excessive rains.
“Conditions this year have been difficult for our growers across Washington, from Clark County to Okanogan,” Gregoire said. “Cold temperatures have harmed our tree fruit crops, while excessive rain made it difficult for bees to pollinate strawberries and other berry crops. A declaration will help our businesses absorb a difficult year and look forward.”
The request includes disaster declarations for Adams, Benton, Chelan, Clark, Columbia, Cowlitz, Douglas, Franklin, Grant, Grays Harbor, Island, King, Kitsap, Kittitas, Klickitat, Lewis, Mason, Okanogan, Pacific, Pierce, San Juan, Skagit, Skamania, Snohomish, Thurston, Wahkiakum, Walla Walla, Whatcom and Yakima counties.
The USDA disaster declaration would allow farmers in the primary counties, as well as adjoining counties, to apply for disaster assistance payments through several programs administered by USDA Farm Service Agency. Farmers may also be eligible for emergency low-interest loans from USDA to cover production and farm property losses.
“There are a lot of things farmers can do to minimize the risks they face during the production year, but they’ll never be able to control the weather,” said WSDA Director Dan Newhouse. “For those producers who experienced crop damage, report that information to your local USDA office or agent as soon as you can. And for the rest of us, this disaster is a reminder to purchase the appropriate crop insurance or USDA noninsured crop disaster assistance coverage. We never know when we’ll need those tools to help weather the storm.”
Gregoire is in Eastern Washington with Newhouse, Ecology Director Ted Sturdevant and Commerce Director Rogers Weed, leading a two-day tour to meet with leaders throughout the region focused on water, agriculture, and bioenergy. Gregoire’s “Feeding Washington” tour will help ensure growers, producers and distributors have the necessary tools and resources to remain globally competitive and help Washington drive its economy and grow jobs.
Before announcing her request to the USDA, Gregoire spent time in Walla Walla, where she toured the Walla Walla pump exchange project that will ensure water flows in the Walla Walla River during the summer months. The project supports the survival of Chinook salmon, endangered bull trout and summer steelhead while securing a more reliable water supply for local farmers.
Later today, Gregoire will visit the Red Mountain region near the Tri-Cities, where a project is underway to double the acreage of irrigated wine grapes to support and grow the state’s thriving wine industry. Tonight, Gregoire meets with the Yakima River Basin water enhancement work group to receive an update on a new, widely supported plan for increasing water supply and improving the environmental health of the Yakima River.
Gregoire continues her “Feeding Washington” tour tomorrow with stops at Irving Newhouse & Sons 600 acre farm in Sunnyside, Gebbers Farm in Brewster and Inland Empire Oilseeds in Odessa.
What Makes a Farmers Market? Farmers Market Coalition Takes Stance, Engages Member
Farmers Market Coalition decides on a definition of a farmer's market as:
"A farmers market operates multiple times per year and is organized for the purpose of facilitating personal connections that create mutual benefits for local farmers, shoppers and communities. To fulfill that objective farmers markets define the term local, regularly communicate that definition to the public, and implement rules/guidelines of operation that ensure that the farmers market consists principally of farms selling directly to the public products that the farms have produced." read the full article 6/4/2010
Seattle’s University District Farmers Market rated one of America’s best farmers markets
by Travel and Leisure "America's Best Farmers' Markets" read the article April 2010