GFMA Congratulates its first FMM Pro Graduate, Sissie Lang

This is a testimony by Sissie Lang

For many who have been managing markets in Georgia for a while, much of the Market Manager certification program will be a confirmation of what has been learned via experience through circumstances that arise as you manage farmers and people. However, for those who are new to managing farmers markets, there is a ton of information that can make their journey easier and more profitable early in the market game.

The three main areas of focus are Nuts and Bolts of Managing Markets, Reaching out to the Market Community, and Building Market Systems.

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Nuts and bolts of managing markets allows exercises that help the manager think through the rules of their market, how the operational systems work, coordinating the proper insurance needs for the market, creating and sustaining the organizational structure of the market as a business, farmer recruitment, and the importance of establishing conflict resolution practices. In general, creating and finding the most manageable ways and means to keep your particular market running smoothly while also making arrangements for beholding the necessary legal requirements.

Reaching the market community shares ideas for programs and services that successful markets have used, how to use nutrition programs to enhance the bottom line for markets, the importance of branding and the use of market materials, using event management to ongoing programs of a market, the inevitability of fundraising and writing winning proposals, and how best to communicate with the customer base of the market. This particular group of lessons focuses on sharing everything you can in order to get “the word out” about the amazing things happening at your market for not only your community but how they are affecting the surrounding communities. And once you get into a rhythm of sharing this message how to convince others and companies to help you grow and continue sharing the positive movement that you’ve started.

And the last group of lessons holds its focus on building community around the market, examining if the market can expand, establishing crisis protocol, adhering to state regulations for food safety, how to help with strategic planning for farmers and vendors which can include farm inspections, and lastly making sure the market documents all programs and maintains records for evaluation for future use. These lessons remind the market manager that although everything may be honky dory you must consistently stay on top of evaluations of programs and how they can become stronger. These lessons also remind the market manager that strategic planning never ends and a market manager must consistently stay on top of the rules and regulations regarding both the state and federal governments.