COLUMBUS — Ohio State University South Centers will host a statewide Farmers Market Conference March 11-12 to promote new ideas and best practices to Ohio’s farmers market vendors and managers.It will be held at the Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center, 2201 Fred Taylor Drive, on Ohio State’s main campus in Columbus.
The conference will provide updates on key food safety regulations, and tips for increasing customer bases and preparing for disasters. “As with programs we have offered in the past, one of the greatest benefits is networking with others who are passionate about farmers markets and local foods,” said Christie Welch, farmers market specialist at OSU South Centers at Piketon.
The theme for the conference, now in its fourth year, is “Keeping it Fresh: Celebrating Ohio’s Diverse Markets.”
The two-day event will feature workshops and sessions designed to offer education relevant to today’s farmers market managers, vendors and producers statewide, Welch said.Sessions will include: How Local Policy Makers Can Help Grow Your Market, How to Talk to the Media, Disaster Preparedness, Social Media Marketing, Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) at Farmers Markets, Winter Farmers Market Considerations, Meat Marketing at Farmers Markets, How to Build Your Customer Base, Food Safety Regulation Update, Developing Marketing Policies and Rules that Work, Planning for Sustainability, and Adding Value.
The conference will include group sessions and breakout sessions focused on managers, vendors or new markets.In addition to the presentations, there will be opportunity for networking with farmers market managers and vendors throughout the state with experience in both large and small markets, Welch said.
The conference is sponsored by OSU South Centers, CFAES, Farmers Market Management Network (FMMN) and Easton Farmers Market.Registration for FMMN members is $70 per day or $95 for both days. The cost for non-members is $80 per day, or $120 for both days.Refreshments, lunch and handouts are included. Details on becoming a FMMN member can be found online at http://fmmn.org.
The conference runs from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on March 11 and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on March 12. Participants can register online at http://ohiofarmersmarkets.osu.edu. For more information, contact Melissa Carter at 740-289-2071, ext. 222 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.