County Ag Report: MFFM Meeting and Future Plans

County Ag Report: MFFM
Published: Feb. 3, 2022 at 7:46 PM EST
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) - Missing the local products you can get from farmers’ markets? Don’t worry, plans are already underway for the 2022 season. In this week’s County Ag Report, Rob Koenig found out what the Maine Federation of Farmers’ Markets is doing to help local farmers’ markets this season.

“The Maine Federation of Farmers’ Markets is an independent, grassroots, 501C3 non-profit. We were farmer founded, and our board members are mostly farmers who sell at farmers’ markets across Maine. I liken ourselves to a chamber of commerce for the farmers’ markets across Maine. We don’t run any individual farmers’ markets, but we do support the 100 plus summer and winter farmers’ markets that are independently run across the state.”

The Maine Federation of Farrmers’ Markets had their annual meeting with farmers’ market directors across the state. The event, held virtually, included details and plans from the work the federation has done over the past year, as well as planned work for the 2022 growing season. Jimmy DeBiasi is the Director of programs for MFFM. He says the Maine Harvest Bucks program was changed over the last year.

“The funds that we have for the bonus bucks is relatively fixed. So SNAP spending can go way up and we’re still stuck with the same budget for paying for those vouchers that are spent on farmers. So we in September to reduce the match to 50 percent, rather than 100 percent. So if you spent $20 on SNAP, you’d get $10 in Maine Harvest Bucks. That is currently still in effect. Ultimately it is a temporary measure, I don’t know exactly.”

Deena Albert Parks is the chairperson for the Presque Isle Farmers’ Market. With the market going on over 20 years of success, she says the programs the federation provides have helped bring customers but finding local vendors is a bigger issue.

“Last year we did have a bunch of turnover due to retirement, younger people that have decided to move out of the area. We are always looking for new vendors, specifically edible food product vendors, not necessarily crafters. We do allow a few crafters; it’s based on a ratio to how many food vendors we have. But we are looking for vendors that have microgreens, fruits and vegetables, veggie and herb seedlings, mushrooms, cheese, dairy products, bread, jams and jellies, canned goods, and more. Anything that’s edible we are definitely looking for.”

2022 Presque Isle Farmers’ Market Information

According to Deena Albert Parks, the Presque Isle Farmers’ Market will start back up during the Fiddlehead Festival on May 21st. The market happens on Saturdays from 8:30a-12:30p all summer until the middle of October. Deena says that they are still looking for vendors to participate in the market, primarily food vendors. You can reach out to Deena either through the Presque Isle Farmers’ Market Facebook Page, or email her using the email here. For more information about the Presque Isle Farmers’ Market during the season, make sure to check for updates on their Facebook page.

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