Friday, February 1, 2008

Where Did the Week Go?

This week has been crazy, to say the least. It’s the busy time of the year for many of us, with all the meetings, conferences, deadlines and workshops going on.

Tuesday, my fellow co-worker Sarah Gehring and I traveled to Warrensburg to meet with the Kansas Dept. of Commerce to discuss plans to host an Agritourism Conference in 2009. The weather was great in the morning, but turned cold and snowy for our return to Jeff City.

Wednesday, I was preparing for a public meeting in Arnold (which is right outside of St. Louis, between I-44 and I-55). The city held a public meeting to discuss the possibility of establishing a farmers’ market in the city. I presented to the group about Missouri Farmers’ Markets and explained the steps to take to start a new market.

Thursday, was spent all day taking calls from people that were interested in attending one of the upcoming farmers’ markets workshops and hammering out a Federal State Improvement Marketing Grant that I’ve been working on for the past month, along with my partners: Missouri Farmers Union, Missouri Farmers’ Market Association and the University of Missouri. This grant has gone through so many re-writes and additions this past week to ensure it’s competiveness.

And so that brings is to Friday…what do they say TGIF (Thank Goodness It’s Friday)! I can contest to that and I have to ask myself, "Where did the week go?" Still working on a grant that might interest many…here’s a short overview of the grant:

The need for fresh and local farm products by consumers is in high demand across Missouri. Additionally, is the challenge of teaching farmers to become not only producers, but experts in marketing. To fulfill the growing consumer demand for fresh products and educating farmers, this grant proposal would like to request funding to accomplish a three phase project. First, a fresh product direct-marketing guide will be developed and include the marketing of fresh vegetables, fruits, meats, grains and eggs to consumers. Second, research will be conducted on consumer trends, preferences and the demand in correlation to farmers’ markets. Last, this project will assist in the launch of a consumer education awareness campaign that will focus on buying fresh, local agricultural products. The Missouri Fresh Direct Marketing Program will be coordinated by the Missouri Department of Agriculture in partnership with the University of Missouri, Missouri Farmers Union, and the Missouri Farmers Market Association. The project’s primary goal is to improve the knowledge and skills of small and medium sized producers to market their fresh agricultural products directly to consumers while providing consumer awareness and the benefits of buying fresh products direct from Missouri farmers.

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