Policies

MFFM policies found on this page:


Conflict of Interest Policy

Adopted November 2012

I. PURPOSE OF THE CONFLICT OF INTEREST POLICY
The purpose of this conflict of interest policy of the Maine Federation of Farmers Markets hereinafter referred to as (MFFM), is to protect the MFFM when it is contemplating entering into a contract, transaction or arrangement that has the potential for benefiting the private interest of a “Significant Person” as defined below. This Policy is intended to supplement, but not replace, any applicable state and federal laws governing conflict of interest applicable to nonprofit and charitable organizations.

II. STATEMENT OF POLICY
The MFFM will not engage in any contract, transaction or arrangement involving a Conflict of Interest without establishing appropriate safeguards to protect the interests of the MFFM. To that end:

a. Each Significant Person must promptly, fully and timely comply with the disclosure requirements set forth in this policy, or as otherwise adopted by the Board in accordance with this policy.
b. All transactions, contracts or arrangements involving a conflict of interest must be reviewed by the board or by a designated body of disinterested persons.
c. The Board, or designated body, must determine by a majority vote of disinterested persons that appropriate safeguards are in place to protect the interests of the MFFM and are consistent with the purposes of this Policy.
d. Where appropriate, the Board or designated body shall seek advice of legal counsel.
This Policy applies to (a) Significant Persons, and (b) any contract, transaction or arrangement involving the MFFM.

III. DEFINITIONS APPLICABLE TO THE POLICY
Significant Person. Any director, officer, key employee or committee member with board delegated powers is a Significant Person.
Conflict of Interest. A “Conflict of Interest” exists whenever a Significant Person has a significant personal interest in a proposed contract, transaction or arrangement to which the MFFM may be a party.

Significant Personal Interest. A Significant Personal Interest exists if the Significant Person, directly or indirectly, through business, investment, or family member, has a(n):
a. ownership or investment interest in any entity with which the MFFM has a contract, transaction or arrangement;
b. compensation arrangement with the MFFM;
c. compensation arrangement with any entity or individual with which the MFFM has a contract, a transaction or arrangement;
d. potential ownership or investment interest in, or compensation arrangement with, any entity or individual with which the MFFM is negotiating (or is proposing to negotiate) a contract, a transaction or arrangement; or
e. fiduciary position (e.g., member, officer, director, committee member), whether compensated or uncompensated, with another, unaffiliated organization (i) which directly competes with the MFFM in terms of services or for charitable contributions; or (ii) with which the MFFM has (or is proposing to enter into) a contract, transaction or arrangement.
Compensation includes direct and indirect remuneration, consulting fees, board or advisory committee fees, honoraria, as well as gifts or favors that are not insubstantial.
Articles V and VI describe the procedures that will be used to decide whether or not a conflict of interest exists.
Family Member. With respect to a Significant Person, a “Family Member” means:
a. the Person’s spouse;
b, a brother, sister, parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, great grandchild (by whole or half blood) of the Person or the Person’s spouse, or
c. the spouse of an individual listed in paragraph (b),
However, a Family Member includes individuals listed in paragraphs (a) and (b) (other than a child) only if the individual lives in the Person’s household, the Person manages the individual’s financial affairs, or the Person is aware without special inquiry that the Family Member holds a particular Interest.

IV. PROCEDURES FOR IDENTIFICATION OF POTENTIAL CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
Annual Questionnaire. Each Significant Person shall completely, accurately and timely submit the annual Conflict of Interest Questionnaire (the “Annual Questionnaire”) as prepared and distributed by the Board.

Duty to Disclose. A Significant Person must disclose the existence of any Interest and be given the opportunity to disclose all material facts to the persons the board has designated to consider the proposed contract, transaction or arrangement. Such information must be provided so that decisions are made with full knowledge and understanding of the Significant Person’s interest.
Continuing Disclosures. If, after completion of the Annual Questionnaire, any Significant Person becomes aware of anything that could give rise to a potential Conflict of Interest with respect to a proposed contract, transaction or arrangement involving the MFFM, the Significant Person shall promptly disclose that Interest to the Board.

V. PROCEDURE FOR DETERMINING WHETHER A CONFLICT OF INTEREST EXISTS
The Board shall determine by a majority vote of disinterested directors whether the disclosed Interest may result in a conflict of interest after meeting, discussing and voting on the matter. The Board shall:
a. review responses to the Annual Questionnaire and any continuing disclosures that are made during the year;
b. take such steps as are necessary to identify Interests and review any so identified;
c. make such further investigation as it deems appropriate with regard to Interests disclosed or identified; and
d. determine whether any such Interest gives rise to a Conflict of Interest.
The Board may request additional information concerning the relevant Interest from all reasonable sources before reaching a determination. A Significant Person may make a presentation at the Board meeting, but after the presentation, he/she shall leave the meeting during the discussion of, and the vote on, the transaction or arrangement involving the possible conflict of interest.

VI. PROCEDURE WHEN A CONFLICT OF INTEREST EXISTS
Where a conflict of interest is determined to exist, the MFFM shall not enter into the proposed contract, transaction or arrangement unless the Board has complied with the following:
a. The chairperson of the Board shall, if appropriate, appoint a disinterested person or committee to investigate alternatives to the proposed contract, transaction or arrangement.
b. After exercising due diligence, the Board shall determine whether the MFFM can, with reasonable efforts, get a more advantageous contract, transaction or arrangement from a person or entity without a conflict of interest.
c. If a more advantageous transaction or arrangement is not reasonably possible, the Board shall determine by a majority vote of the disinterested directors whether the transaction or arrangement is in the MFFM’s “best interest,” for its own benefit, and whether it is fair and reasonable. In conformity with the above determination, the Board shall make its decision as to whether to enter into the contract, transaction or arrangement.

VII. PROCEDURE FOR VIOLATIONS OF THE POLICY
a. If the Board has reasonable cause to believe a Significant Person has failed to comply with the disclosure requirements in this Policy, it shall inform the Person of the basis for such belief and afford the Person an opportunity to explain the alleged failure to disclose.
b. If, after hearing the Significant Person’s response and after making further investigation as warranted by the circumstances, the Board or committee determines the Significant Person has failed to disclose an actual or possible conflict of interest, it shall take appropriate disciplinary and corrective action.

VIII. DOCUMENTATION OF PROCESS
The minutes of the Board (and all committees with board delegated powers) shall contain:
a. The names of the Significant Persons who disclosed or otherwise were found to have an Interest being considered at such meeting by the Board [or Committee], the nature of the Interest, any action taken to determine whether a Conflict of Interest was present, and the Board’s decision as to whether a conflict of interest in fact existed.
b. The names of the persons who were present for discussions relating to the contract, transaction or arrangement, the content of the discussion, including any alternatives to the proposed transaction or arrangement, and a record of any votes taken in connection with the proceedings.
c. If appraisals (for tangible property) or third party comparable data (for compensation) were considered by the Board, the nature and source of the data.

IX. ANNUAL AFFIRMATION STATEMENT
Each Significant Person shall annually sign the statement at the end of the attached Annual Questionnaire and affirm:
The person has received a copy of this Conflict of Interest Policy,
The person has read and understands the Policy,
The person agrees to comply with the Policy, and
The person understands the MFFM is a charitable organization and, in order to maintain its federal tax exemption, it must continuously engage primarily in activities that accomplish one or more of its tax-exempt purposes.

X. PERIODIC REVIEWS
To ensure that the MFFM operates in a manner consistent with charitable purposes and does not engage in activities that could jeopardize its tax-exempt status, periodic reviews shall be conducted. The periodic reviews shall, at a minimum, include the following subjects:
Whether compensation arrangements and benefits are reasonable, are based on competent survey information, and are the result of arm’s length bargaining.
Whether partnerships, joint ventures, and arrangements with management organizations conform to the MFFM’s written policies, are properly recorded, reflect reasonable investment or payments for goods and services, further charitable purposes and do not result in inurement, impermissible private benefit or in an excess benefit transaction.

XI. USE OF OUTSIDE EXPERTS
When conducting the periodic reviews as provided for in Article X, the MFFM may, but need not, use outside advisors. If outside experts are used, their use shall not relieve the governing board of its responsibility for ensuring periodic reviews are conducted.
Purpose of this Questionnaire
The Conflict of Interest Policy (the “Policy”) adopted by the Board of Directors of the MFFM requires disclosure of certain Interests. It is not uncommon to have these interests, but it is very important to make them known to the MFFM you serve.
Use this questionnaire to disclose where you or your Family Members have certain affiliations, interests or relationships, and/or have taken part in transactions that, in light of your relationship to the MFFM, might possibly give rise to an actual, apparent or potential conflict of interest.
How to Use this Questionnaire
1. Please read the Conflict of Interest Policy for the definitions of all capitalized terms used in the Questionnaire.
2. Answer all questions. Check “No” where applicable (please do not leave any question blank if the correct response is “no”).
3. Any response should take into consideration your relationship with and your role within the MFFM.
4. Where this Questionnaire refers to “you,” it is also referring separately to each Family Member. For purposes of this Questionnaire, the definition of “Family Member” is extremely inclusive. “Family Member” includes a brother, sister, parent, grandparent, child, grandchild or great grandchild (by whole or half blood) of the “Significant Person” or his/her spouse.
5. Your response should indicate whether you are disclosing an Interest of you or of a Family Member (and, in the case of a Family Member, the nature of your relationship with that Family Member).
6. Include all material facts as requested by this Questionnaire.
7. Disclose all possible Interests that currently exist, even if you previously reported them. Interests that are new either since the filing of your last Questionnaire, or since the beginning of your relationship with the MFFM should also be reported on this Questionnaire. A potential Conflict of Interest can arise from many circumstances, not just those described in this Questionnaire. You must report to the Board any relationship that creates an Interest that occurs between now and the completion of the next annual Questionnaire. Any potential conflicts of interest that arise after the questionnaire has been completed should be immediately reported to the Executive Director or Board Chairperson.
8. Complete the questionnaire, date it and sign the affirmation at the end of the document.

CONFLICT OF INTEREST QUESTIONNAIRE AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
(To be completed by Officers, Directors, Trustees, Key Employees and members of Board committees)
NAME: ______________________________________________________

POSITION: ______________________________________________________
In accordance with the purposes and intent of the Conflict of Interest Policy adopted by the Board of Directors of the MFFM, a copy of which has been furnished to me, I hereby disclose that I or my Family Members have the following affiliations, interests or relationships, and/or have taken part in the following transactions:
a) BACKGROUND
B. What position(s) do you hold and what relationship(s) do you maintain with respect to the Organization (e.g., trustee, director, committee member, officer, executive, professional advisor, vendor, etc.)?

a) OUTSIDE INTERESTS
C. Do you or any Family Member (as defined on previous page) hold, directly or indirectly, through business, investment or immediate family, any of the following:
i. An ownership or investment interest in a company that does or may do business with, or that competes with, the MFFM, regardless of the percentage of ownership or value of the ownership interest?
( ) No ( ) Yes – Explain below

ii. A compensation arrangement with any Company that does or may do business with, or that competes with, the MFFM (such as compensation for employment or independent contractor services, consulting fees, board stipends or fees, advisory committee fees, honoraria and the like)?
( ) No ( ) Yes – Explain below

iii. A director, trustee, officer or board committee position with any other Company that does or may do business with, or that competes with the MFFM (including competition for grants or donations)?
( ) No ( ) Yes – Explain below

iv. Any personal loans, advances or other borrowing from, or indebtedness to, any customer or supplier who also does or may do business with any the MFFM? (You may exclude charge cards, and personal or mortgage loans at market rates at financial institutions such as banks, finance companies, insurance companies, and savings and loan associations.)
( ) No ( ) Yes – Explain below

D. Do you or any Family Member compete, directly or indirectly, with the MFFM in the purchase or sale of property rights, interests or services?
( ) No ( ) Yes – Explain below

E. Do you or any Family Member provide directive, managerial, consultative or other services to or on behalf of any other Company that does or may do business with, or that competes with, the services of the MFFM?
( ) No ( ) Yes – Explain below

F. Do you or any Family Member employ or otherwise retain any MFFM personnel for work on non-MFFM business done outside of the MFFM?
( ) No ( ) Yes – Explain below

G. Have you or any Family Member used MFFM property to conduct business that is not MFFM business, without prior approval of an executive of the MFFM?
( ) No ( ) Yes – Explain below

H. If you are employed by the MFFM, have you or any Family Member accepted assignments outside of the organization, either as an employee or as an independent contractor, over and above your primary or full-time assignment with any farmers marketY?
( ) No ( ) Yes – Explain below

I. Do you or any Family Member hold an elected or appointed office or other position of public responsibility that serves residents in the MFFM’s service area?
( ) No ( ) Yes – Explain below

J. Have you or any Family Member been a party to any action, suit or proceeding during the past five years that might be deemed material to evaluating your ability, your integrity or your interests with respect to the MFFM?
( ) No ( ) Yes – Explain below

K. Do you or any Family Member know of any recent or pending actions, suit or proceeding in which you have an interest adverse to the interests of, or are a party adverse to any the MFFM?
( ) No ( ) Yes – Explain below

a) INSIDE ACTIVITIES
L. In your area of direct responsibility within the MFFM, do you employ or otherwise retain any Family Member or other individual with whom you have a business or personal relationship? Have you or any Family Member attempted to influence the MFFM concerning the employment or retention of any immediate family member or other individual with whom you have a business or personal relationship?
( ) No ( ) Yes – Explain below

M. Attached to this form is a complete list of the directors, officers, key employees and significant service providers for the MFFM. We need certain additional information to complete the annual Form 990 tax return for the MFFM. We are required to ask each person or entity on the attached list the following questions:
i. Is any person on the list a Family Member?
If yes, please specify name and relationship: _____________________

ii. Are you an employee of any person or entity on the list?
If yes, please specify employer(s): _____________________________

iii. Do you (PERSONALLY, and not through any business interests) have a written contract with any person or entity on the list?
If yes, please specify name and relationship: _____________________

iv. Do you (PERSONALLY, and not through any business interests), together with any person or persons on the list, have more than a 35% ownership interest in any corporation, partnership or trust?
If yes, please specify name and relationship: _____________________

a) GIFTS, GRATUITIES AND ENTERTAINMENT
N. Have you or any Family Member accepted gifts, entertainment, benefits, discounts or other favors from any outside entity that does, or is seeking to do, business with, or is a competitor of, the MFFM, under circumstances from which someone might think that such action was intended to influence or possibly would influence you in the performance of your duties on behalf of the MFFM? This does not prohibit the acceptance of reasonable entertainment by suppliers or prospective suppliers or items of nominal value that are clearly tokens of respect or friendship and not related to any particular transaction or activity when the value of such entertainment or items does not exceed One Hundred Dollars ($100.00).
( ) No ( ) Yes – Explain below

O. Have you or any Family Member accepted any gifts, honoraria, perquisites, favors or benefits valued in excess of One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) from customers, suppliers or agents of the MFFM?
( ) No ( ) Yes – Explain below

a) OTHER
In the space below, please disclose any other interest, activities, investments or involvement that you think might be relevant for full disclosure of all actual, apparent or possible conflicts of interest. If none, indicate “none.” [Use additional pages as necessary.]

b) AFFIRMATION
I hereby state that:
(ii) I have received a copy of the MFFM’s Conflict of Interest Policy,
(iii) I have read and understand the Policy,
(iv) I agree to comply with the Policy,
(v) I understand that Maine Federation of Farmers Markets is a charitable organization and that, to maintain its federal tax-exempt status, it must engage primarily in activities that accomplish one or more of their tax-exempt purposes,
(vi) I agree to report to the appropriate person (1) any change in the responses to each of the foregoing questions that may result from changes in circumstances or (2) any further financial interest, situation, activity, interest or conduct that may develop before completion of my next annual Questionnaire, and
(vii) The information contained in this Questionnaire is true and accurate to the best of my knowledge and belief as of the date below.
Signed: ___________________________________________
Print Name: ___________________________________________
Date: ___________________________________________


Data Protection Policy

This policy applies to all staff and volunteers (including Board and committee members) of the Maine Federation of Farmers’ Markets (“MFFM”). For the purposes of this policy, the term “Staff” means all members of MFFM staff including permanent, fixed term, and temporary staff, board members, volunteers, and interns engaged with the MFFM.

This policy applies to all personal and sensitive personal data processed on computers and stored in manual (paper based) files.  It aims to protect and promote the privacy of individuals, markets, and MFFM.

Personal Data: Any information which relates to a living individual who can be identified from the information. It also extends to proprietary (not generally accessible to the public) information about individual farmers’ markets.

Examples of personal data:

  • A person’s name and address (postal and email)
  • Date of birth
  • Any expression or opinion communicated about an individual
  • Minutes of meetings, reports
  • Emails, file notes, handwritten notes, sticky notes
  • Employment and student applications
  • Spreadsheets and/or databases with any list of people/markets and private/proprietary information    
  • Employment or education history
  • FNS numbers
  • Sales data

General Principles

  1. Personal data shall be obtained and processed fairly and lawfully.
  2. Personal data shall be obtained only for the specified and lawful purposes and shall be processed for limited purposes.
  3. Personal data shall be adequate, relevant and not excessive in relation to the purpose for which it is obtained.
  4. Personal data shall be accurate and kept up to date.
  5. Personal data shall not be kept for longer than necessary.
  6. Personal data (manual and electronic) must be kept secure, and disposed of appropriately when no longer needed.

Roles and Responsibilities – Staff will safeguard data, including:

  • Using password protection on all devices and accounts
  • Guarding passwords and changing them regularly
  • Notifying a supervisor immediately if it is suspected that there has been a breach of data security
  • Limiting the number of individuals added to any Google document, and periodically reviewing with whom such docs are shared to ensure the list remains appropriate
  • Carefully tracking and accounting for all memory devices
  • Regularly backing up all data to a secure offline repository

Additionally:

  • Staff will not attempt to gain access to information that is not necessary to hold, know or process.  All information which is held will be relevant and accurate for the purpose for which it is required. The information will not be kept for longer than is necessary and will be kept secure at all times.
  • MFFM will ensure that all personal or sensitive personal information is anonymised as part of any evaluation to be made public unless express written permission is obtained in advance.
  • Staff who manage and process personal or sensitive personal information will ensure that it is kept secure and confidential.

Approved 4/13/16


Non-Discrimination Policy

Our work has been funded at least in part with Federal funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The contents of this publication do not necessarily reflect the view or policies of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability.


Privacy Policy

Whether you are a farmers’ market vendor, a market manager, a shopper, a volunteer, an organization, or a community partner, we are committed to operating ethically and protecting your privacy. We use your information only for its intended purpose, and do not sell or trade your information to other organizations or individuals.

How do we use your information?

  • MFFM offers a free email newsletter called Selling Outdoors. We will not sell or share the newsletter mailing list. Subscribers may opt out of receiving the newsletter at any time.
  • MFFM maintains a database (spreadsheet) of contact information for Maine farmers’ markets. We use this information internally, in order to keep in touch with the markets. However, individual market managers and others may choose to share some contact information publicly by letting us know they are willing to have their information posted. (Many market managers opt to list a phone number and/or email address as a point of contact for their market, which will then appear on the market’s page on the MFFM website.)
  • MFFM maintains a public “Directory” listing the location, days, times, and contact info for all known Maine farmers’ markets. We include information that markets request to have listed in the Directory, and also may list other publicly available information.
  • MFFM hosts regular educational programs, and we encourage participants to register online. Online event registration information is processed with trusted third party software that utilizes encryption technology.
  • If you are a participant in one of our programs, with your permission we may include your information in a participant list to share with those attending the program. This list may include your name, title, market or agency, and email address. The purpose is to help participants continue to network after the event.
  • Registering for an MFFM event online automatically adds your information to our contact list. We never share this list. We send occasional announcements, invitations, and messages to our contacts.

If you have any questions about our website or our Privacy Promise, please contact the office at (207) 487-7114 or by email at info@mffm.org.

Approved 4/1/15

Revised 4/13/2016


Travel and Expense Reimbursement Policy

Adopted 11/19/2014
Purpose.

The Board of Directors of Maine Federation of Farmers’ Markets (MFFM) recognizes that board members, officers, and employees (“Personnel”) of MFFM may be required to travel or incur other expenses from time to time to conduct Company business and to further the mission of this non-profit organization. The purpose of this policy is to ensure that (a) adequate cost controls are in place, (b) travel and other expenditures are appropriate, and (c) to provide a uniform and consistent approach for the timely reimbursement of authorized expenses incurred by Personnel. It is the policy of MFFM to reimburse only reasonable and necessary expenses actually incurred by Personnel.

When incurring business expenses, MFFM expects Personnel to:

Exercise discretion and good business judgment with respect to those expenses.
Be cost conscious and spend MFFM ’s money as carefully and judiciously as the individual would spend his or her own funds.
Report expenses, supported by required documentation, as they were actually spent.

Expense Report.

Expenses will not be reimbursed unless the individual requesting reimbursement submits

a written Expense Report. The Expense Report, which shall be submitted at least monthly or

within two weeks of the completion of travel if travel expense reimbursement is requested, must include:

The individual’s name.
If reimbursement for travel is requested, the date, origin, destination and purpose of the trip, including a description of each Company-related activity during the trip.
The name and affiliation of all people for whom expenses are claimed (i.e., people on whom money is spent in order to conduct MFFM’s business).
An itemized list of all expenses for which reimbursement is requested.

Receipts.

Receipts are required for all expenditures billed directly to MFFM, such as airfare

and hotel charges. No expense in excess of $25.00 will be reimbursed to Personnel unless the individual requesting reimbursement submits receipts from each vendor (not a credit card receipt or statement) showing the vendor’s name, a description of the services provided (if not otherwise obvious), the date, and the total expenses, including tips (if applicable).

Personal Cars.

Personnel are compensated for use of their personal cars when used for Company

business. When individuals use their personal car for such travel, including travel to and from

the airport, mileage will be allowed at the currently approved IRS rate per mile.

Parking/Tolls.

Parking and toll expenses, including charges for hotel parking, incurred by Personnel

traveling on Company business will be reimbursed. The costs of parking tickets, fines, car

washes, valet service, etc., are the responsibility of the employee and will not be reimbursed.

Non-Reimbursable Expenditures.

MFFM maintains a strict policy that expenses in any category that could be perceived as lavish or excessive will not be reimbursed, as such expenses are inappropriate for reimbursement by a nonprofit, charitable organization.


Whistle Blowers Policy

Adopted 11/19/2014

The Maine Federation of Farmers’ is committed to operating in furtherance of its tax-exempt purposes and in compliance with all applicable laws, rules and regulations, including those concerning accounting and auditing, and prohibits fraudulent practices by any of its board members, officers, employees, or volunteers.  This policy outlines a procedure for employees to report actions that an employee reasonably believes violates a law, or regulation or that constitutes fraudulent accounting or other practices.  This policy applies to any matter which is related to MFFM’s business and does not relate to private acts of an individual not connected to the business of MFFM.

If an employee has a reasonable belief that an employee or MFFM has engaged in any action that violates any applicable law, or regulation, including those concerning accounting and auditing, or constitutes a fraudulent practice, the employee is expected to immediately report such information to the Executive Director.  If the employee does not feel comfortable reporting the information to the Executive Director, he or she is expected to report the information to the chair of the Board of Directors.

All reports will be followed up promptly, and an investigation conducted.  In conducting its investigations, MFFM will strive to keep the identity of the complaining individual as confidential as possible, while conducting an adequate review and investigation.

MFFM will not retaliate against an employee in the terms and conditions of employment because that employee:  (a) reports to a supervisor, to the executive director, the Board of Directors or to a federal, state or local agency what the employee believes in good faith to be a violation of the law; or (b) participates in good faith in any resulting investigation or proceeding, or (c) exercises his or her rights under any state or federal law(s) or regulation(s) to pursue a claim or take legal action to protect the employee’s rights.

MFFM may take disciplinary action (up to and including termination) against an employee who in management’s assessment has engaged in retaliatory conduct in violation of this policy.

In addition, MFFM will not, with the intent to retaliate, take any action harmful to any employee who has provided to law enforcement personnel or a court truthful information relating to the commission or possible commission by MFFM or any of its employees of a violation of any applicable law or regulation.

Supervisors will be trained on this policy and MFFM’s prohibition against retaliation in accordance with this policy.