On January 6, Reed Proper of the Old Forge Farmers Market became the first graduate of FMM Pro, New York State’s first-ever Farmers’ Market Managers Professional Certification Course. The online course was launched in March by SUNY Cobleskill in partnership with the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, the Farmers’ Market Federation of NY, and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Broome County.
“I liked being able to complete the program at my own pace and at times that was convenient and also not having to leave home,” Proper said. “And at 80 years old, it made me feel young at heart! With the knowledge gained from the farmers market managers certification program, I can create a more efficient market, have a greater nutritional assistance program for the local needy and have a better chance of qualifying for grants.”
The goal of FMM Pro is to grow and professionalize New York’s farmers’ markets by providing expert training to those who run markets, making them certified market managers. New York State is now home to some 646 farmers’ markets, up nearly 35 percent from just five years ago.
The program, funded by Governor Cuomo’s FreshConnect Program, created New York State’s first ever market manager certification designation, which is formally recognized through the SUNY educational system and gives participants a credential they can use to garner support and enthusiasm for their markets.
Program participants who complete the full curriculum will graduate and receive a Certified Market Manager certificate. Completing the course will help market managers better organize, administer, and promote their markets.
“The FMM Pro certificate program provides a tremendously valuable service to professionals in New York’s direct-to-consumer food sector,” said SUNY Cobleskill Associate Professor of Agricultural Business Management Jason R. Evans. “Market managers can utilize the principles and best practices gleaned from this program to run better markets, which means more efficient and less costly marketing efforts for producers and better experiences for consumers that translate to strong demand.”