SSAWG Farmers Market Pre-Conference a Success

      Posted On: January 26, 2010

On January 20-21, the Wallace Center at Winrock International, the Farmers Market Coalition, and the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (SSAWG) collaborated to host a short course for farmers market managers as a pre-conference to SSAWG’s 19th annual “Practical Tools and Solutions for Sustaining Family Farms” event.

Thirty participants from across the south and mid-Atlantic, representing farmers markets small, large, and yet-to-be, attended the short course. Presented by eight farmers market experts, the sessions included:

–       “From the Ground Up,” a discussion about how to plan and structure new markets. Presenters: Peter Marks, Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (Asheville, NC); Bernadine Prince, FreshFarm Markets (Washington, DC)

–       “Running the Show and Keeping the Peace,” a panel session on the use of communication skills to mitigate vendor conflicts and enforce market rules. Presenters: Bernadine Prince; Mike McCreary, Market Manager, Asheville City Market (Asheville, NC); Sarah Blacklin, Market Manager, Chapel Hill-Carrboro Farmers’ Markets (Carrboro, NC); Erin Kauffman, Market Manager, Durham Farmers Market (Durham, NC).

–       “Measurement, Recordkeeping, and Evaluation,” a crash course on data collection at the market. Presenters: Darlene Wolnik, Director of marketshare, (New Orleans, LA); Bernadine Prince.

–       “Getting the Right Mix,” on identifying and recruiting the best assortment of producers for your community’s needs. Presenters: Cliff Slade, Farmer and Former Virginia Tech Agricultural Extension Agent, Sycamore Springs Farm (Suffolk, VA); Mike McCreary.

–       “Spreading the Word,” an overview of the grassroots marketing tools available to farmers markets. Presenters: Sarah Blacklin, Erin Kauffman.

–       “Reducing Risk,” on food safety and insurance from both the farmer and manager perspectives. Presenters: Darlene Wolnik; Cliff Slade.

–       “Expanding Fresh Food Access,” a primer on the use of federal nutrition programs. Presenters: Cameron Smith, Director of Marketing, TX Direct (Memphis, TN); Bernadine Prince.

Every participant was provided with a 2 GB memory stick containing handouts and follow-up resources for each presentation.  Each session was recorded and plans are in the works to make them available through FMC’s web site.

The Farmers Market Coalition would like to thank the pre-conference partners and presenters for putting on such informative sessions, and hopes to see everyone again in Tennessee in 2011!