In July of 2021, Farmers Market Associations from around the world were asked to support the formation of the World Farmers Market Coalition. They heartily agreed and were subsequently asked to join Campagna Amica to launch the World Farmers Market Coalition with UN Deputy General Amina Mohammed in Rome at the flagship Circo Massima farmers market, part of the Fondazione Campagna Amica network. Ghana, Georgia, Norway, Denmark, Canada, USA and, of course, Italy! (Thank you for the prose Richard McCarthy).
What an honor to represent our countries and associations on such a noble mission. The UN has set “Zero Hunger” as one of the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030. We believe that farmers markets are a means to achieving that goal.
We are inspired by our new friends from across the globe and by such hospitality from our hosts in Italy. In the words of our Secretary General Carmelo Troccoli: “We have no leaders, we are all leaders.” With this, we move forward in supporting and building farmers markets around the world.
Farmers markets are like flowers. When given care, they thrive in sunlight and seek room to flourish. We envision a world of farmers markets, much like flowers in a field — serving as interactive symbols of commerce and community.
We recognize that, from global North to South, the ancient mechanism of farmers markets is being reimagined to address the urgent demands expressed in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Since the dawn of human civilization, farmers markets have contributed to the development of civic, commercial and political life. They build bridges between communities of all shapes, sizes and locations. In short, they are indicators of and contribute to civic, commercial and climatic health.
We celebrate the intentional reinvention of these ancient mechanisms to recover joy in everyday life, dignity for those who work the land and forage the waters, and reclaim a taste of place. They facilitate the proximity between people, tradition and innovation; and choice and agency for consumers.
When managed with clearly defined and publicly stated rules of engagement, 21st century farmers markets represent an important collaboration between farmers, consumers and the communities that host them. However, they do not simply run themselves. To be successful, they are managed. This is not to suggest that every farmers market is managed in precisely the same manner. After all, each market reflects the cultural, ecological, and geographic context of the place.
At a minimum, we believe that successful markets are managed.
- Possess and publicize rules committed to direct marketing, transparency of food origin, and competition;
- Occur on a recurring basis;
- Are inclusive and open to participation by farmers and shoppers.
When these core competencies are professionally cultivated, farmers markets are not only better able to weather economic, political and climatic instability, but they are able to achieve additional benefits, including to:
- Preserve biodiversity and traditional family farming;
- Provide a voice for cultural diversity and preservation;
- Mitigate the risks for farmers to transform their businesses and provide futures for youth in agriculture; and for consumers to increase their purchase of local foods, especially among vulnerable and marginal consumers who seek food security;
- Empower women to prosper with greater economic agency;
- Provide marginalized communities with greater agency to improve their livelihoods;
- Grow the next generation of good eaters to recognize and embrace fresh, healthy and local foods.
As important as it may be for a market to flourish like a flower in one town or another, we are committed for these canopies of commerce to propagate like flowers in a field, all over the world. For this reason, we are committed to cultivating a world community of farmers markets devoted to measure success; share best practices and innovation; defend endangered markets and their participants; and promote the idea that farmers markets can be gateways to wider and deeper opportunities to build social trust at moments where it is lacking. To these ends, we understand the World Farmers Market Coalition not as a narrow trade association, but as a pivotal voice for farmers markets and for communities who facilitate farmers markets, work in farmers markets, and benefit from farmers markets.