MARKET FRESH

A Farmers' Markets of Nova Scotia Blog

An Open Letter to Our Minister of Agriculture, April 2018

April 19th, 2018

Honourable Minister Colwell,

The average age of a Canadian farm operator in 2016 was 55, an increase over the recorded average in 2011, which was itself an increase over the recorded average in 2006. Our province is not immune to this national trend with the average Nova Scotian farm operator aged 55.4 (2011). With our farming population aging, and fewer young people choosing a career in agriculture, supporting and investing in new entrants is more important than ever

The programs announced Monday, April 16th by the Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture (NSDA), under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, exclude farms earning under $30,000 in gross sales. We have heard, informally, that a separate program for farms earning under $30,000 is to be created and offered come fall 2018 – some six months later than the program designed to serve larger farms and established farms.

As a former Deputy Minister of Business once said to our Executive Director, “Clearwater Seafoods started with two men selling fish off the back of a truck.” Every business starts somewhere and, more often than not, a business starts small. Thanks to our Farmers’ Market Sector, new entrants have a viable marketplace for launching and incubating their farm business, whether they are a primary producer or a value-add agricultural business.

We share your vision for financially successful farm businesses. We are however very concerned that new entrant producers have been overlooked to the detriment of our agricultural sector and our provincial economy.

Minister Colwell, we request a seat at your table to assist in shaping programs which will serve our shared mandate to foster a strong agricultural sector in our province – an agricultural sector which is sustainable, diverse, accessible to new entrants and an economic driver for our province.

We wanted to share with you one of many pertinent stories of new entrant success – that of Bramble Hill Farm in Pictou County and owner/operator Cathy Monroe.

In 2017, thanks to an incentive of NSDA’s Homegrown Success Program, along with a loan from FarmWorks Investment Cooperative, a successful crowd funding campaign and personal savings, Bramble Hill Farm put up a heated greenhouse to significantly extend their season and their production. They now sell fresh greens year round at two farmers’ markets and are weekly suppliers to three retailers around the province.

Bramble Hill Farm owner and operator Cathy Monroe has seen exponential growth in her business since accessing this funding from NSDA. “My business has experienced a 140% sales growth in the first quarter of 2018, in comparison with the 1st quarter of 2017. This large growth has meant we are currently advertising for hired help, and looking to further develop our wholesale business.”

The story of Bramble Hill raises a second key concern of ours – the complete lack of season extension incentives included in NSDA’s programs. Given our short growing season and increasingly unpredictable weather, access to funding for season extension is an essential component of growing our provincial agriculture industry, increasing market share and replacing imports with Nova Scotia grown.

Minister Colwell, we are ready to participate in a conversation with you and with NSDA’s experienced senior Programs staff.

Sincerely, Keltie Butler

Executive Director
Farmers’ Markets of Nova Scotia Cooperative
902.485.9330
FMNS@farmersmarketsnovascotia.ca
Find us online at www.farmersmarketsnovascotia.ca
Facebook: Farmers’ Markets of Nova Scotia
Twitter: @MarketFreshNS
Instagram: @marketfreshns

Call for Board Nominations – Winter 2018

The Board of Directors of Farmers’ Markets of Nova Scotia is a committed team of people who energize and support the vision, mission and development of the organization within the province and beyond.

At our Annual General Meeting, in Truro, on Monday April 30th, an election of four board members will take place.

Do you, or do you know someone who possesses experience and expertise that would benefit our organization and sector, including:
– Accounting and experience as a Board Treasurer (see Volunteer Job Description below)
– Board Governance Experience and/or Coop Procedure
– Strategic Thinking and/or Policy
– Fundraising and Financial Development
– Networking, Public Relations and/or Government Relations.

And who is:

  • Engaged, passionate and committed to fostering healthy local communities, economies and people; and
  • Cares about local production and the farmers’ market movement.

If you, or someone you know, fits this criteria, please give Keltie a call at our office or send an email to connect. Interested and qualified candidates will be put forward at the Annual General Meeting of Farmers’ Markets of Nova Scotia on April 30th in Truro.

Please note that, according to our by-laws and policy document, all Board members need not be from within our membership. We welcome nominees from outside of farmers’ market management and vendorship. A passion for this work is required whether that be the farmers’ market sector/movement, community development, entrepreneurship, rural life, agriculture, or the local food movement.

Please click here for further details regarding Farmers’ Markets of NS Coop and the commitment required of Board members.

Volunteer Job Description of Board Treasurer: The Treasurer will have an active role, as well as oversight, of the organization’s financials. The Board Treasurer will not however be asked to act as bookkeeper or accountant. It is the position of the Treasurer to work with the Executive Director to draft annual budgets and to ensure strong, working systems in regards to the financial management of the organization. It is also the position of the Treasurer to stay up to date on the organization’s financial standing and to relay this information to the Board and to the Membership. It is the position of the Treasurer to review the fiscal year end financial reports, created by an accountant, prior to submission to CRA, etc. The expected commitment is a 3 year term with an estimated 1-3 hours of work biweekly. You must also participate in the monthly Board conference calls and lead the financial committee should the committee be deemed necessary/advantageous. Financial oversight and leadership is one responsibility of the Board with the Treasurer having a leading role. The Treasurer may be a community member, a member market organizer or a vendor.

Keltie Butler, Executive Director
office phone: 902.485.9330; email: FMNS@farmersmarketsnovascotia.ca
Find us online at www.farmersmarketsnovascotia.ca
Facebook: Farmers’ Markets of Nova Scotia

Food Safety Change for Farmers’ Markets & Vendors: Schedule B Permits Eliminated

January 25th, 2018

Below are copies of the letters that are being mailed out to both the vendors of Schedule B foods and all of NS farmers’ markets by the NS Dept of Environment (home of Food Safety). Should any questions arise from the letters, your Public Health Officer (often referred to in our sector as Food Safety Inspectors) are fully briefed on the change and can answer questions directly. Below is a complete list of Public Health Officers by region and their contact information.

Reach Keltie at the Farmers’ Markets of NS Cooperative office with any broad questions regarding the change.

Schedule B Permit removal vendor 2018

Schedule B Permit removal organizer 2018

Western
Kentville Phone: 902-679-6086
Bridgewater Phone: 902-543-4685
Yarmouth Phone: 902-742-8985

Central 
Bedford Phone: 902-424-7773
Truro Phone: 902-893-5880
Amherst Phone: 902-667-6205

Eastern
New Glasgow Phone: 902-396-4194
Antigonish Phone: 902-863-7389
Port Hawkesbury Phone: 902-625-0791
Sydney Phone: 902-563-2100

We’re Hiring! Marketing & Administrative Coordinator

Marketing & Administrative Coordinator
21-30 hours per week
Pictou County, Nova Scotia

Farmers’ Markets of Nova Scotia Cooperative is seeking a Marketing & Administrative Coordinator to assist the Executive Director in carrying out the mission of the Cooperative. We are looking for a mature individual who is skilled in marketing and content creation as well as office management, is self-motivated and enthusiastic about farmers’ markets. The position is a one year term, with intent to extend.

BACKGROUND
The Farmers’ Markets of Nova Scotia Cooperative (FMNS) aims to build the capacity of farmers’ markets and their member businesses through professional development, innovation, research, province wide marketing, and advocacy.

Since 2004, FMNS has been working on behalf of farmers’ markets and their vendors, producers and artisans. Created by markets for markets, we serve the needs of our member markets and their vendors while also acting to inform, inspire, and advocate for the farmers’ markets movement to the Nova Scotian public.

 

POSITION
The primary responsibilities of this position are:

ADMINISTRATIVE

  1. Bookkeeping

– bookkeeping and payroll, accounts receivable and accounts payable using Simply Accounting;

  1. Event Planning

– scheduling and logistics of workshops, trainings, professional development and networking events for our members;

  1. Grant Writing & Reporting
  2. Office Duties

– primary email communication

– annual paperwork such as member renewals, Coop registration, etc.

– file maintenance

– website management

  1. Sale of Our Merchandize, E-Trainings and Resources

– sales strategy and goals

– expand opportunities for sales

– ordering and managing of stock

– record keeping on sales

MARKETING

  1. Marketing & Social Media Management

– on-going management of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts including content creation

– content curation from member markets and vendors

– advertising and promotional initiatives for FMNS events

– film and edit 12+ one-minute videos at member markets across Nova Scotia as outlined in our 2017/18 social media marketing campaign

– management of Farmers’ Market Sector E-Newsletter from monthly writing to audience segmenting and building, sale of resources, etc.

– regular media outreach and scheduling as well as writing (i.e. press release, column, etc)

– recruitment and retention copy writing

 

The Marketing & Administrative Coordinator will report to, and work closely with, the Executive Director. The Marketing & Administrative Coordinator will also collaborate with, and support, contractors hired to complete projects.

 

QUALITIES, SKILLS & EXPERIENCE REQUIRED

The qualities, skills and experience required for this position are:

  • copywriting and content creation across a range of media (eNewsletter, social media, press release);
  • social media strategy and management
  • online sales strategy;
  • photography and videography including video editing;
  • basic website/Wordpress skills or familiarity;
  • media experience and/or contacts are an asset;
  • bookkeeping experience;
  • administrative skills and experience such as email communication, file maintenance, systems thinking and basic document writing, etc.;
  • grant writing and reporting experience or relevant skills;
  • event planning and logistics experience or relevant skills;
  • interest and experience in working collaboratively as a small team;
  • self-motivated, able to work independently;
  • an interest in local production, agriculture and/or community development.

 

SKILLS & EXPERIENCE TO BE GAINED

The skills and experience to be gained in this position are:

  • a deepening of marketing skills and experience including copywriting, videography and photography;
  • grant writing and reporting;
  • project management;
  • office management;
  • communications;
  • problem solving;
  • further development of administrative, planning, and organizational skills;
  • non-profit sector;
  • membership/cooperative mandate.

 

TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES MAY BE AVAILABLE INCLUDING

  • Sage Simply Accounting

 

TERMS OF EMPLOYMENT

This position is made possible through an employment initiative. As such, to be eligible for this position, you must be either

  • currently unemployed, and
  • a resident of Nova Scotia, and
  • a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, and
  • confirmed eligible by Career Connections Nova Scotia Works following being offered the position.

Or

  • a Canadian post-secondary graduate, and
  • 30 years or younger as of July 1st, 2017, and
  • Must not have participated in any other Youth Employment Strategy programs (ie. Career Focus), and
  • a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.


Location
: This position will be based at our rural office, 1999 Millsville Road, Scotsburn, Nova Scotia (Pictou County). Working from this location on a daily basis is not necessary however a weekly day at the office is required.
Start Date: Monday, June 26th, 2017. This employment contract is a one year term position with intent to renew/extend.
Wage: $16.00 – 17.00/hour according to experience.
Hours: 21-30hr/wk. Occasional evening and/or weekend work may be required.
Travel: Expect to travel within the province once per month. Overnight travel will be rare however. Access to a vehicle is required with mileage paid at $.40/km.

TO APPLY Please email a cover letter and resume, including 2 references, to Keltie Butler at FMNS@farmersmarketsnovascotia.ca. Please submit your application in the form of a single pdf document with all required elements included and in the following order: cover letter, resume, references. Supporting documents to illustrate technical skills and/or experience in photography, videography, graphic design, etc. are requested.

DUE DATE: May 28th, 2017 (midnight).

Thank you to all applicants for their time and interest. Short-listed applicants will be contacted, with interviews scheduled for early to mid June.

Farmers’ Markets of Nova Scotia (FMNS) is committed to employment equity and encourages applications from traditionally underrepresented groups such as women, visible minorities, First Nations, and persons with disabilities. Diversity is a stated value of FMNS and, moreover, diversity in the farmers’ market community is a strength that must be cultivated.