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 office@wafarmersmarkets.com or call 206-706-5198.  We look forward to hearing from you!

… says WSFMA’s 2012 Market Manager of the Year award winner, Julia Zander of Bremerton Farmers Market. Read more

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 AcresThe 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
 

Sharon YeagoKeynote 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.  Register for the conference today on the WSFMA Conference website.

August 15, 2011 article in Food Safety News, “Food Safety At Farmers Markets and Fruits Stands” by Gretchen Goetz, features Seattle’s Pike Place Market.

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

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. Washington state has developed several itineraries for the Savor Washington program that combine food and agriculture, said Patrice Barrentine, direct marketing coordinator at the Washington State Department of Agriculture. click for full article

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