Background & History

In 2008, Farmers Market Coalition sponsored a trans•act fellowship in Los Angeles, to lead Market Umbrella’s Neighborhood Exchange Evaluation Device (NEED) research in eight selected farmers markets throughout the southern California area. In addition, Stacy Miller, then FMC’s Executive Secretary, served as an advisor to the trans•act research.

In 2010, the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) Communities Putting Prevention to Work Program (CPPW) funded the Community Food Security Coalition (CFSC) to provide technical assistance to their grantees as they sought to implement community-based healthy food interventions. This work, under project director Sara Padilla, included a technical assistance collaboration between CFSC and Farmers Market Coalition (FMC) to provide evaluation support to city and county public health agencies that had farmers markets in their projects. In the course of this process, FMC, with the assistance of consultants Suzanne Briggs and Darlene Wolnik, developed “Learning Circles” with the grantees to identify common characteristics, struggles, and successes of markets. Some of this work was presented during an FMC “SNAP/EBT Short Course” hosted at the national CFSC Conference in November 2011, receiving valuable input from participants as well as the markets that were members of the CPPW Learning Circles.

Summary Report Prototype Project January July 2014: An iterative design project, funded by the Knight Foundation created simple reporting templates for markets. Twelve markets participated in the 6-month project and led to metric graphics and one-page reports for the Farmers Market Metrics program.

Indicators for Impact April 2014 – March 2017: The Farmers Market Coalition collaborated with the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW) to conduct a three-year research study, funded by USDA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), to test metrics and data collection methodologies with nine markets across the country.

Farmers Market Metrics Training Materials October 2014 – March 2016: The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service’s Farmers Market Promotion Program funded the Farmers Market Coalition to create an series of training materials for farmers market practitioners on effective data collection strategies. In 2017, the materials will be added to the Farmers Market Metrics data management site to be used by the FMM pilot projects, with a wider rollout expected later once the testing of the materials and site is completed.

D.C./VA Data-Driven Messaging Project October 2017 – September 2019: Goals of the project are to increase state capacity to support markets, collect data on market-level impacts, plan and implement content marketing strategies in Virginia and Washington D.C., and improve farmers market marketing content across the country.