September 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 Hard Cider Maker Thriving with Farmers Market Sales

MIFMA is collecting and sharing stories of businesses and markets that have benefited from the new (as of 2012) licensing option that allows qualified small winemakers to sample and sell wine, hard cider, and mead at farmers markets. We support increasing the size of the wineries that can participate in order to continue to grow a thriving marketplace for this local food and farm product. The stories we collect and share will help inform this advocacy effort.

Co-owner Nicole Ward explains that for Forgotten Ciders, “Selling at the Midland Farmers Market has had a positive impact on our business. Being that we’re a seasonal business, it’s nice to have another outlet for our product and the market has helped us grow recognition in our name and brand.” Read the full story here.

Take Action- We are still collecting stories!

Have you had wine sales at your farmers market? If yes, what has your experience been? How has it added to your market and/or supported a Michigan winemaker?

Reply to this email to share your story with MIFMA’s Advocacy Committee. We need stories like yours to help us advocate for expanding the eligibility of winemakers that can participate in farmers markets!

Advocacy Committee Recommends MIFMA Sign on to Community Letter in Support of Nonpartisanship

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 the 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.”

MIFMA’s Executive Director Dru Montri explains, “We train market managers on how to avoid partisan political activity during the Market Manager Certificate Program session on market policies. Our advocacy work to date has also focused on a bipartisan approach. Supporting the maintenance of the Johnson Amendment is in line with the way we do business at MIFMA.” For these reasons, the MIFMA Advocacy Committee is recommending that the Board of Directors sign on with nonprofits from across the country to the Community Letter in Support of Nonpartisanship.  A vote will take place at the next Board of Directors meeting.

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

MIFMA Hosts Farmers Market at the Capitol to Support Farmers Markets

MIFMA hosted the third and final Farmers Market at the Capitol on Thursday, September 21, 2017. The market took place from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., on the east lawn of the Michigan State Capitol Building in downtown Lansing. Visitors to the market shopped more than 70 vendors from farmers markets all across the state!

Legislators were in-session during the event and a strong market on the lawn can demonstrate all of the amazing impacts that farmers markets can have on their home communities all season long.

MIFMA Will Help Celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Healthy Kids Healthy Michigan

On September 27, 2017, MIFMA attended the annual meeting of Healthy Kids Healthy Michigan (HKHM) and join the celebration of the coalition’s 10th anniversary. HKHM is is a coalition dedicated to reducing childhood obesity in Michigan through strategic policy initiatives while working with state government leaders. Recently, HKHM supported MIFMA’s efforts to advocate for funding to support no-cost wireless point-of-sale devices for all farmers markets in Michigan accepting SNAP benefits. We have greatly appreciated their support and look forward to joining