On March 7, 2017, the Michigan Farmers Market Association (MIFMA) certified the largest cohort of market managers to date as part of its Market Manager Certificate Program, growing the number of certified market managers from 186 to 239. The certification offers acknowledgment to market organizers and vendors that the market manager is a trained professional.
Certificates were awarded to 36 market managers from Michigan and 17 from Indiana. These market managers join the 186 market managers that were certified between 2011 and 2016, for a total of 239.
Farmers markets have been growing rapidly throughout the country, with more than 300 markets in Michigan. As markets grow, so do the needs of the individuals who run them. MIFMA’s Farmers Market Manager Certificate Program was the first program in the nation that recognized market managers as professionally trained.
To become certified through MIFMA’s Market Manager Certificate Program, individuals had to complete 35 hours of training focused on leadership skills and professional development in topics essential to market management. Key learning objectives covered in the program were: Introduction to Market Management, Building Your Capacity to Manage a Farmers Market, State of Michigan Licensing and Regulations, Overview of Food Assistance Programs, Collecting and Sharing Farmers Market Data, Grant Writing to Grow Your Market, Marketing Your Market and Planning for Events and Entertainment, and Ensuring the Sustainability of Your Farmers Market. Each certified market manager had the opportunity to network with other market managers over the course of the program. A final manager-to-manager education and networking opportunity completed the program and focused on sharing experiences and lessons learned.
Once a market manager becomes certified, they then qualify to start earning Professional Development Hours (PDH) toward re-certification through MIFMA’s Continuing Education Program. MIFMA also celebrated the re-certification of two individuals through its Continuing Education Program – Julia Darnton, President of the Downtown Saginaw Farmers Market and Christine Easley, Market Manager for Saline Farmers Market.