PCFMA Releases Farmers' Guide to Farmers' Market Laws
At the end of August I had the honor of joining Fresh Approach, PCFMA’s sister organization, at the official ribbon-cutting for the expansion of Fresh Approach’s Freshest Cargo program into Santa Clara County, an expansion made possible by a generous grant to Fresh Approach from Kaiser Permanente, South Bay. Freshest Cargo is a “farmers’ market on wheels” that sources fresh produce from California farmers at nearby farmers’ markets and sells it in communities where fresh produce is unaffordable or inaccessible. In addition to buying at farmers’ markets, Freshest Cargo will soon also source produce from community gardens and urban agriculture programs.
PCFMA has been a proud partner in the Freshest Cargo program since it first launched in Contra Costa County in July of 2013. We applaud this innovative approach to increasing the accessibility of fresh food while supporting local farmers and salute the many funders who have contributed to the development of the program: Kaiser Permanente, USDA, and the Health Trust.
I’m excited to announce that PCFMA has also reached an important milestone in one of its grant-supported programs, though we are marking the occasion with significantly less fanfare. In March, PCFMA received a grant from the Western Center for Risk Management Education at Washington State University for a project to help educate California farmers on changes to the state’s direct marketing laws and regulations. Since then, our staff has been working with its partners in the certified farmers’ market field to develop a guide for farmers that explains the changes in the laws and the proposed changes in state regulations. The goal of the project is to help farmers to comply with the complex web of laws and regulations that govern our state’s farmers’ markets, ensuring the farmers’ continued success.
Earlier this week PCFMA distributed over 300 copies of this guide to its farmers along with Spanish and Hmong translations of the guide’s Executive Summary and a copy of the California Small Farm Food Safety Guidelines developed by the California Department of Food and Agriculture. You can find downloadable copies of each of these items at pcfma.org/blog/farmers-guide-laws-2015.
While we are extremely proud to have reached this milestone, we realize there is still much work to be done. PCFMA’s grant has one year of activity remaining so over the next year we plan to organize in-person trainings for farmers and farmers’ market mangers. Our goal is to help those who operate farmers’ markets and those who depend on them for their livelihood to better understand the legal requirements of farmers’ markets so they can remain successful for years to come.
While legal compliance is essential, it is your continued support that truly sustains farmers’ markets and all of us at PCFMA truly appreciate your contributions.
I look forward to seeing you in the market soon.
Allen J. Moy Executive Director