Information for veteran and new vendors will be covered.
PITTSBURG, Kan. – There may be no better, more positive way to bring a community together than at the local farmers market. Think about it – it signifies the beginning of spring, new growth and people coming together in a casual, congenial manner to buy foods and flowers directly from local growers.
But selling at farmers markets comes with challenges – government requirements, product marketing issues, unpredictable weather and other factors that can wreak havoc with even the most conscientious business plans and food safety measures.
“Farmers markets draw consumers searching for locally grown foods,” said Gayle Price, family and consumer sciences specialist with K-State Research and Extension. “This trend continues to increase in popularity attracting local growers who have expressed an interest in understanding current best practices in food safety and in identifying ways to market their products and provide consumers with nutritious and safe local foods.”
To help novice and experienced vendors, alike, with marketing, management and food safety issues, K-State Research and Extension is hosting the “Southeast Kansas Regional Farmers Market Vendor Workshop” on Saturday, March 29 at the First Christian Church of Pittsburg, 705 E. Centennial Drive. The workshop is supported by county Farm Bureau associations of southeast Kansas and the Kansas Department of Agriculture.
The day begins with registration at 9 a.m. and the program starting at 9:30 a.m. Program topics and speakers include:
- Kansas Food Safety Inspection Requirements – representative of Kansas Department of Agriculture (KDA);
- Weights & Measures Requirements - Maureen Henzler, KDA;
- Food Safety Best Practices for Vendors – Londa Nwadike, K-State Research and Extension food safety specialist;
- The Business of Being a Farmers Market Vendor – Annarose Hart, KDA;
- Introduction to Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) for Fruit and Vegetable Growers – Cary Rivard, K-State Research and Extension horticulture specialist;
- Maximizing Your Sales at Farmers Markets – Tracey Graham, former coordinator for Kansas Rural Center’s Farmers Market Project; and
- Food Safety for Value-Added Products – Fadi Aramouni, K-State Research and Extension food safety specialist.
The regulations to be covered apply to the entire state of Kansas, but the best practices apply to any state (including Missouri and others), so the workshop will have relevance for vendors beyond Kansas, Price said.
The early registration of $15, which includes snacks, lunch and program materials, is due by March 21. After that date and at the door, the fee is $20. A printable brochure and registration form is available at the K-State Research and Extension Southeast Area office website. More information is available by contacting Anna Mae Brown at 620-724-8233.
Sidebar:Number of U.S. Farmers Markets Climbed 3.6 Percent in 2013
Direct marketing of farm products through farmers markets continues to be an important sales outlet for agricultural producers nationwide. As of August 2013, there were 8,144 farmers markets listed in U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Farmers Market Directory -- a 3.6 percent increase from 2012.
More information about farmers markets is available on the USDA website.
Source: UDA Agricultural Marketing Service
K-State Research and Extension is a short name for the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, a program designed to generate and distribute useful knowledge for the well-being of Kansans. Supported by county, state, federal and private funds, the program has county Extension offices, experiment fields, area Extension offices and regional research centers statewide. Its headquarters is on the K-State campus, Manhattan.
Story by: Mary Lou Petermlpeter@ksu.eduK-State Research & Extension News
Barbara Ames – 620-331-2690; Anna Mae Brown – 620-724-8233; Martha Murphy – 620-232-1930; Kathy McEwan – 620-365-2242