Our mission is to establish and operate community-supported certified farmers' markets and other direct marketing outlets that provide: viable economic opportunities for California farmers and food producers with emphasis on family farms, local access to farm fresh products, support for local businesses and community organizations, and education concerning food, nutrition and the sustainability of California agriculture.
How We Pursue our Mission:
- Certified Farmers' Markets and other direct marketing outlets
PCFMA operates certified farmers' markets, locations that are designated by county agricultural commissioners for the sale of California-grown agricultural products by the farmers that grew the crop, directly to the people that will consume the crop. In addition, PCFMA helps its farmers to identify and take advantage of other opportunities to sell their product directly to consumers, including larger scale buyers such as restaurants and institutions.
- Viable economic opportunities for California farmers and food producers
Selling directly to consumers, rather than to wholesalers, middlemen, or processors is good for local farmers, as the farmers retain a larger percentage of income, helping the farm to remain viable. PCFMA works exclusively with California farmers. Only California-grown products may be sold in a certified farmers market. To help ensure the farmers' markets are successful outlets for the farmers - attracting large numbers of customers - PCFMA also works with hundreds of food producers whose products help to enhance the farmers' market. These food producers are primarily small businesses whose products are not available anywhere but farmers' markets. PCFMA endeavours to ensure the markets are successful for these producers as well.
- Local access to farm fresh products
PCFMA's farmers' markets help to connect the urban and suburban communities to California's rural and agricultural areas. Farmers' markets offer the freshest, locally-grown produce available. Unlike mass-marketed commodities that are often imported from around the world and may pass through several hands, spending time in various warehouses before appearing in a store, the fresh fruits and vegetables in a farmers' market are brought directly to the market from the farm. Most fresh fruits and vegetables arrive at the market the same day they are picked.
- Support for local businesses and community organizations
PCFMA believes each farmers' market should be a reflection of the community it serves and a resource for those that call that community home. That is why most of PCFMA's markets make space available for local businesses to promote themselves and for local nonprofits and community groups to promote their services. Because each market is unique, the way in which this happens varies from community to community. PCFMA is fortunate to partner with local groups - such as chambers of commerce, merchants' associations, downtown associations, and Main Street projects - that share PCFMA's goal of creating and sustaining community-based markets and that help to guide the participation of local businesses and community organizations.
- Education concerning food, nutrition and the sustainability of California agriculture
Farmers' markets are unique in bringing together California's rural and urban communities. The markets also provide a unique opportunity to educate consumers about the food they eat and how it is produced, about seasonal foods and how they can be the center of a nutritious diet, and how California's food system depends on the success, viability and sustainability of California's farms. PCFMA's educational efforts are led by its sister organization, Fresh Approach, and include its Cookin' the Market program of live cooking demonstrations that show how easy it is to make nutritious meals with farm fresh products. PCFMA's educational efforts are made possible through its ongoing partnerships with groups like Kaiser Permanente, 5-a-Day and others devoted to health and nutrition and with groups like Brentwood Agricultural Land Trust (BALT), Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF), and the California Small Farm Conference dedicated to sustaining farming in California.