MARKET WATCH: EXPO events for market managers & wannabees

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March 9, 2010 at 6:34 pm

If you manage a market or want to start one, come early, come often to the FamilyFarmed EXPO!  On Friday, March 12, as part of the Food Policy Summit, I’ll be joining experienced market managers Dennis Ryan (61st Street Market) and Karen Stark (Geneva Green Market) for a 10am to 11:30pm breakout session titled, Food Access/Farmers Markets: Best Practices for Growing Community Markets, and billed as: 

An interactive conversation covering all aspects of a successful farmers market, from the initial planning phase to a sustainable market place, which benefits your community, and the farmers and food artisans who sell at the market.  Topics will include:

  • Determining whether a farmers market is right for your community
  • Working with relevant government agencies
  • Establishing market rules, regulations and vendor criteria
  • Budgeting and staffing (paid and volunteer)
  • Farmer / Vendor recruitment
  • SNAP / EBT
  • Promotion and Advertising
  • Educational Programming
  • Balancing all participants’ best interests – Market, Community, Shoppers, and Farmers/Vendors 

Dennis, Karen, and I come from different farmers market models and hope to have some insights to share with you.  But consider the enumerated topics a starting point—the real agenda will be driven by you, so come with your questions, your own best practices to share, and an open mind. 

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On Saturday, March 13, from 1pm to 4pm there will be a Farmers Market Forum, an opportunity for market managers and farmers/producers/vendors to learn some of the nuts and bolts about farmers markets.  This is being sponsored by an ad hoc group of market managers and others interested in creating a statewide farmers market association in Illinois, and will cover:

  • Network and share successful marketing and outreach initiatives
  • Learn the latest news about GAP (good agricultural practices) training and Food Rules Updates
  • Find new ways for growing your market ( including EBT/Link)
  • Farmers Market Association planning update

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From 10am to 5pm on Saturday, March 13, the EXPO will include a Local Food Festival complete with chef demos, kids’ activities, and over 100 farmer, producer, and artisan exhibitors offering information, samples, purchase opportunities, and CSA applications.  But any self-respecting market manager or wannabee will surely recognize it as a chance to engage in their favorite pastime–trolling for vendors.  So come armed with your market brochures, business cards, and community’s demographics, and hope to catch the attention of  those on hand.

More about all of these opportunities at FamilyFarmed EXPO.  See you there!

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