Friday, November 9, 2007

Day 3: Blogging from Baltimore

The first ever National Farmers’ Market Summit just rapped up in Baltimore.

(Photo: Baltimore Farmers' Market)

This was a great meeting of all FM stakeholders from across the nation. I was extremely impressed with the level of discussion among the participants on pressing issues that FM will face in the coming years.

Major priorities and strategies were addressed today by breakout groups. Some of the issues that really hit home for our Missouri markets were:

- How to grow farmers
- Providing low income access to markets for fresh local food
- Where does funding come for FM promotions
- Need for FM management training
- Development of a message that would promote local food nationally and statewide
- Making FM the center of communities

After discussions on some of these focuses each stakeholder group met to then collectively determine what their group could to better to benefit the FM industry. I sat with many other participants from other ag dept. (Maryland, Iowa, New York to name a few) to determine what we as a state agency could be doing better to help our FM and farmers. Our group came to some main focuses that we need to work on as a whole to promote and enhance the FM industry.

I want to know what your suggestions are for enhancing the farmers’ market industry. What are we doing well, what needs work?


Carol Burns said...

What a great photo of the market in Baltimore.

I think that the help from the dept has been good in the recent months. I would like to see more funding to help alternative farmers with marketing their operations.

Anonymous said...

I think promoting more hands on education of vegetables and cooking to get people excited about variety. Farm to Chef demos will introduce people to techniques and chefs.

Urban/City Markets should team with 4H to promote young farmers in urban or city schools.

Markets should develop mini-grants to new farmers to help with training and marketing.