October 2017 Advocacy Update

Giving a policy voice to Michigan farmers markets has always been integral to the vision and work of the Michigan Farmers Market Association (MIFMA). To guide our work towards that vision, MIFMA’s Advocacy Committee works throughout the year to advance the Advocacy Priorities that are set annually by you, our members!

This monthly email will provide you with an update on the most important activities of our Advocacy Committee and staff. Follow these links to learn more about the Advocacy Committee and how you can become an advocate.

Michigan Farmers Market Uses National Farmers Market Week as Advocacy Tool

One Michigan farmers market shares how they used National Farmers Market Week as a tool to advocate for farmers markets in their community, in Michigan, and across the country.

Linda Bader, Certified Market Manager, St. Louis Farmers Market 

Utilizing promotional tools from the national Farmers Market Coalition, Linda submitted a press release to her local paper which ran the story during National Farmers Market Week. She also invited Representative Jim Lower to visit her the market (pictured at left with Linda). Other activities for the day included hosting a booth for the local USDA Farm Service Agency to pass out information about their programs, changing the market’s Facebook banner to the National Farmers Market week logo, and adorning volunteers with I heart Farmers Market t-shirts and patrons with temporary tattoos with the same message. Great work, St. Louis Farmers Market! Building a relationship with your local state representative will have lasting impacts on the market well beyond National Farmers Market Week.

MIFMA Signs on to Community Letter in Support of Nonpartisanship

At the October MIFMA Board of Directors meeting, the Advocacy Committee recommended that MIFMA sign on to the Community Letter in Support of Nonpartisanship which supports maintaining the Johnson Amendment of the federal tax code. As a nonprofit itself, and as a representative of many members who are also nonprofits, MIFMA feels it is important to monitor and respond to policy initiatives that affect nonprofits. This year, prospective repeal of the Johnson Amendment of the federal tax law that establishes the nonprofit status designation is an issue the MIFMA Advocacy Committee has been monitoring.

The Johnson Amendment prohibits 501(c)(3) nonprofits from endorsing, opposing, and/or contributing to political candidates. According to the National Council of Nonprofits, “nonpartisanship is a cornerstone principle that has strengthened the public’s trust of the charitable community. In exchange for enjoying tax-exempt status and the ability to receive tax-deductible contributions, 501(c)(3) organizations – charitable nonprofits, including religious congregations, and foundations – agree to not engage in “any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.”

If you are a nonprofit organization, please consider also signing your organization on to this letter from the National Council of Nonprofits.

MIFMA Staff Asked to Co-Lead Healthy Kids Healthy Michigan Community Policy Action Team for Healthy Food Access

Starting in January 2018, MIFMA’s Program Director Amanda Shreve will begin serving as the co-chair for the Healthy Kids Healthy Michigan (HKHM) Community Policy Action Team for Healthy Food Access. Amanda will join existing co-chair Tina Reynolds of the Michigan Environmental Council to lead HKHM’s work on expanding healthy food access as a means of combating childhood obesity. The Healthy Food Access CPAT meets monthly to engage around legislative initiatives to support healthy food access. Priorities for 2018 include expanding the 10 Cents a Meal pilot program, working on proposed legislation to create a new tax credit for farmers who donate food to a charitable hunger relief organization, and other initiatives to improve healthy food access for underserved families statewide. Please join MIFMA in congratulating Amanda and thanking her for representing us in this important new role!