This year marks the 17th annual National Farmers Market Week. Cathy Isom tells us about the week-long celebration of a popular and tasty outdoor event. That’s coming up on “This Land of Ours”.
From: Farmers Market Coalition
Invite Your Elected Officials to the Farmers Market!
The Secretary of Agriculture proclaims the first full week of August National Farmers Market Week every year, in order to highlight the role that farmers markets play in America’s food system.
Elected officials will make the best policy decisions when they hear from you—the experts. Now’s the perfect time to invite them to visit your market during National Farmers Market Week (August 7-13th) to show off your market’s great work. A market visit provides an opportunity to showcase the impact that your market has on the community, it’s successes, as well as some challenges it’s facing. There’s no need to even discuss a specific policy—providing information about your market and it’s work is an important step in building a relationship with your elected officials. When the time comes for policy decisions to be made, your elected officials will have a basic understanding of how changes may impact your market, and you’ll already have a foot in the door to provide recommendations or further information. Follow these easy steps to help plan and execute a successful visit!
1. Identify Who, When, and Where
Find out who represents you (and your market) here. Spend some time learning about your elected officials—policymakers draw on their experiences while making decisions, so it can be helpful to be familiar with their backgrounds and past positions. If your market is hosting any special events to celebrate National Farmers Market Week, invite the elected official to attend, or better yet, participate. They may be willing to serve as a judge in a contest, as an assistant in a cooking demo, or as a taste tester. If there’s an opportunity to speak, they may be interested in making brief remarks about why we’re celebrating National Farmers Market Week.
2. Schedule the Visit
Call or email your elected official. Use FMC’s Elected Official Invitation Template and invite them to participate in your National Farmers Market Week events. You may be referred to an aide who handles agriculture or scheduling issues. Don’t be disappointed! These are the people who advise their bosses and they can be very influential. Aides can also be helpful by providing background on the elected official and explaining what their priorities are. (Quick tip: Be sure to use their titles when addressing public officials. For example, address members of the Senate as ‘Senator’ and members of the House as ‘Congressman or Congresswoman’).
Image credit: Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack visiting a Farmers Market, speaking with vendors about their produce. Image courtesy of Farmers Market Coalition.