Summing up 2020 has been an interesting task as we seek to quantify the work we have done with the funds we have been trusted to distribute and utilize as we seek to fulfill our mission of advocating that Healthy Food is for Everyone, regardless of their socio-economic status. One of the ways our organization seeks to do this is through our Farmers’ Market LIFE initiative.
We have written about the program extensively on our website but want to offer this as an update to our 2020 Market Year. Our consortium is made up of 15-17 markets and four organizations, led by our wonderful Farmers’ Market Managers:
- Agricultural Community Events Farmers’ Markets
- Healdsburg Farmers’ Market
- Sebastopol Farmers’ Market
- Santa Rosa Original Farmers’ Market.
It would be remiss to highlight our year without congratulating them on being able to pivot through all the changes that COVD-19 has brought upon the markets.
One thing that emerged through the year is that farmers’ markets are essential to the community. They not only let the community shop in the open air as they buy healthful food to boost immune systems but through our incentive matching program, they allow for people’s food budgets to stretch further while supporting small, local agricultural farms. We are proud to be a small piece in the local food system and advocate for farmers’ markets at a local, state, and federal level.
We shifted our outreach during this year to mainly online and highlighted a few big events during the year: CalFresh Awareness Month in May and National Farmers’ Market Week in August. In collaboration with several community organizations, we were also able to produce our video for Faces of the Market, which can be seen below:
In 2020, our program saw growth like we have not seen before; this was due to several factors, two of which were the distribution of Pandemic EBT and Disaster EBT, distributed because of COVID-19 and fire season. However, it is also due to more people being aware of Farmers’ Market LIFE and matching incentives. The year-end totals for our program can be seen below:
Together, this combined total of $193,618 kept $346,576 local based on the USDA Economic Multiplier, which says that for every dollar spent locally, it has an impact of $1.79. We are thrilled we were able to support local farms and the local economy in a year where small businesses have faced innumerable challenges.
We are looking forward to 2021 and the launching of several important marketing initiatives as a part of our Farmers’ Market Promotion Program Grant. This grant, in partnership with the USDA, UCCE Sonoma and UC SAREP, seeks to use community-based participatory research to develop culturally appropriate marketing to make markets more inclusive.
Stay tuned to our social media outlets for more updates for Farmers’ Market LIFE!
(All photographs courtesy of Paige Green Photography)