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Schedule for the January 25 & 26, 2013

Maine Farmers' Market Convention



7:30-9:00        Registration and Coffee                     

9-10:30           What Happening at Your Market? - with plenary best practices from each table               

10:30-12         Breakout

  • Farmers' Markets for All: why and how to make your market accessible to low-income members of your community - Panelists: Sherie Blumenthal, St. Mary's Nutrition Center/Lewiston Farmers' Market; Jack McAdam, McDougal Orchards/Sanford-Springvale Farmers' Markets; Tom Roberts, Snakeroot Farm/Pittsfield, Orono, Unity, Newport, Downtown Waterville Farmers' Markets. Facilitated by  Colleen Hanlon-Smith        
  • Market Managers round tables – Facilitated by Deb Burwell
  • Grassroots Marketing – Presented by Erica Quin-Easter Grassroots Marketing: Learn about free and inexpensive ways to promote your farmer's market and your business. Whether you're doing it all yourself or enlisting partners, volunteers, or professional support for marketing, this workshop will give you new tips and tools to improve your outreach and put your best foot forward. This workshop will help you develop a comprehensive and integrated marketing plan for the year ahead, incorporating traditional marketing techniques and emerging technology.

12:00-1:30      Lunch             

1:30-2:30        Keynote - Presented by Craig Freshley.  Why is it so hard to make group decisions? Why are meetings feared and loathed? Can't we just all get along? In a fast-paced interactive session laced with timeless principles and practical tips, Craig Freshley will answer these questions. He will explain three key ingredients for a good meeting, the basics of good communication, and how to manage conflict. Craig will ask questions too. Audience participation required! Building on spontaneous stories, opinions, and discussion, Craig will lead the group to its own conclusions about how to improve meetings, communications, and group decisions in the world of farmers markets.          

2:30-3:00        Break and informal networking                    

3:00 - 4:00      Breakout

  • Winter Markets – This workshop will introduce concepts and resources outlined in "Cold Cache: Extending the Farmers' Market Season", a publication co-produced by Maine Rural Partners and the Western Mountains Alliance.   The purpose of the publication is to guide farmers interested in extending the harvest into Maine's unpredictable winter months and finding or creating markets in which to sell the fruits of that winter labor.  Presented by Tricia Cook
  • Strategic Planning Basics: Easy if Ya Know How – In this workshop Craig will explain the basics: what is a strategic plan, why have one, and the simple steps to making one. Craig will also discuss how to get your farmers market to be a key part of other strategic plans: economic development plans, downtown revitalization plans, comprehensive land use plans.  Presented by Craig Freshley   
  • Display:  – Join presenter Linda Edgerton in this interactive visual display workshop. Perfect for participants of markets & farm stands  and market managers alike.  You'll take away inexpensive and easy ideas to mak your space a magnet for buyers!

4:00-5:30        Breakout

  • Food safety – The Food Safety Modernization Act proprosed rules have just been released by the FDA.  Food safety is a concern for consumers and these rules have implications for farms and farmer's markets.  Learn about the proposed rules and the state of Maine Food Code.  Join the discussion about product sampling at markets.  Our panel will discuss the science of food safety and the implications for Maine.  Presented by Cheryl Wixson, Dr. Jason Bolton, University of Maine; Ronda Stone, Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry; Caitlin Hunter, Appleton Creamery; Eric Rector, Monroe Cheese Studio
  • Delving into Social Media –  Marketing and promotion using free and inexpensive web tools as well as the local media can be a headache but there are easy things to do that help alleviate the pain.  Any vendor or market can easily create web presence and content without breaking the budget. Using many all ready available sites, a web presence that is valuable can even be created without maintaining your own web site. If you, or someone on your team have a good command of the English language and can use a computer on the internet you have the keys to successful marketing and promotion and you can also easily gain information about the visitors to your information, farm or market. If you have a web site so much the better.  Presented by Steve Hoad
  • Innovative Marketing – Over the past decade, organic sales have grown by double digits while sales within the rest of the food industry have stagnated. With rising interest in becoming locavores, farm to table dinners and local food markets popping up across the country local has become the new organic. With this resurgence in local foods interest, supply, demand and customer sophistication have grown. So while farmers' markets and local farmers are well positioned to become a center of this new movement, they are facing increasing competition and must seek out new ways to capitalize on this new trend. With this in mind, we'll examine: what are the latest innovations happening in farmers' markets? How are customer expectations changing? How can farmers use these change to grow your sales, increase loyalty and improve returns.   Presented by Jay Friedlander                                      




7:30-8:45        Registration and Coffee                     

8:45-9:00        Opening - Sarah Joy Chaples            

9-10:30           Breakout

  • Planning, Implementing and Sustaining EBT & SNAP use at the Farmers' Market – This session will present the process for bringing and maintaining EBT and SNAP to the farmers market.  It will include a panel of individuals who will share their experience working to manage and support EBT at farmers markets in Maine.   Panelists: Sarah Smith, Ned Porter, Jack McAdam, Lauren Errickson.
  • Get Your Records Out of the Shoebox – In this workshop we will explore the fundamentals of a good record keeping system.  We will discuss the components of a good system, the various accounting services and how your record keeping lowers your costs, as well as key financial statements and what they mean to your business.  Presented by Jen Trowbridge
  • Best Practices: What to do now to increase your customer base this summer – Presented by Colleen Hanlon Smith

10:30-12:00    Breakout

  • Community Outreach to Strengthen Your Market - This workshop will focus on how to use community engagement and outreach to make a market in an economically challenged community a healthy food asset and a preferred shopping choice for community members, while satisfying the economic needs of the participating farmers. The North End Farmers Market was conceived by and with the community, a low-income neighborhood in Hartford, CT.  Presented by Martha Page   
  • Get Your Records Out of the Shoebox Cont. – Presented by Jen Trowbridge          
  • Welcome to the World of Farmers' Markets – Entering a farmers' market can be a daunting process for new farmers and vendors.  From the application process, to establishing a presence for yourself at market, to navigating the relationships and politics with others at the market.  Hear from three farmers who have a full spectrum of experience with participating in farmers' markets, from being a new farmer trying to find markets that fit to being a leader in their markets.  Panelists: Mark Guzzi, Peacemeal Farm; Clayton Carter, Fail Better Farm; Brian St. Laurent, Proud Peasant Farm; Facilitated by Melissa White-Pillsbury 

12:00-1:00      Lunch -          

1:15 - 3:30 PM           Maine Federation of Farmers Markets Annual Meeting                  

For more information
Email: mfmc@whcacap.org
Call: 207-664-2424, ext. 4460
Write: Down East Business Alliance/WHCA, 248 Bucksport Road
Ellsworth, ME 04605.


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