This week’s Tent Talk episode is the last in our series of Tent Talk Live episodes recorded at the 2019 InTents Conference in San Diego, California. The presentation “Using Our Voices to Create Change” was led by California Alliance of Farmers Markets Program Coordinator Amelia Moore and Executive Director of the national Farmers Market Coalition, Ben Feldman. Both organizations are active in shaping the evolving set of policies, rules and laws that govern our industry, and market farmers, food makers and managers can help.
Listen along for tips on how to engage in farmers market policy!
Our strength is in numbers
Our current political process has been deliberately designed to be difficult to navigate. Too often, money is a huge source of influence on policy. That means when farmers’ markets’ needs conflict with giant corporate and industry interests, going head to head with paid lobbyists and spin specialists can be daunting. But Ben and Amelia point out that if we stand together we’re pretty powerful too. There are farmers’ markets now operating in almost every political district in the US. Combine all those independent business owners, their employees, and loyal shoppers and that’s a lot of voters. Those kinds of numbers can influence the policies that elected officials support and how they vote on new laws and regulations.
Get your lawmakers’ attention
There are many ways to engage with elected officials at the local, state and federal level. Listen for Ben and Amelia’s suggestions, and ideas from the market managers and others in the audience at the InTents Conference. Data is an important resource, and the Farmers’ Market Metrics program offered by Farmers’ Market Coalition can help you collect and organize the numbers in a way that will make your case. Reach out to your legislators, invite them to your market, and make a difference.
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