; Building the Sustainable Table: Strategies for Farmers Market Learning and Leadership | Conferences | AgRisk Library


Conference Name Building the Sustainable Table: Strategies for Farmers Market Learning and Leadership

Stacy Miller


Farmers markets are effective in allowing limited resource farmers to manage production, marketing, and financial risks. As uniquely direct sales vehicles, they are particularly efficient at providing access to a broad customer base that rewards product diversity, season extension, and sustainable farming practices. Such interactive venues offer agricultural entrepreneurs real-time consumer feedback while encouraging creative entrepreneurship. An auxiliary role of farmers markets for agricultural producers is as a hub for peer-to-peer learning, where farmers can interact directly with other limited resource producers and share on-the-ground knowledge and experience relative to managing risk.

While farmers markets continue to grow both in sheer number and in popularity, the industry as a whole is challenged by a number of limiting factors that dampen the capacity of farmers market to serve farmers, consumers, and communities into the long-term. This session will provide an introduction to the work presently being done at the national level to help recruit and train a new generation of direct marketing farmers, farmers market managers, and educators, and address the nuts and bolts business and organizational management issues relevant for farmers market success. The Farmers Market Coalition and its partners are pioneering networking, train-the-trainer, and peer-to-peer learning opportunities and are presently growing the first national on-line database of farmers market tools and resources. Participants in this session will also learn about leadership opportunities available in curriculum development, education, and best practices diffusion to help farmers markets and their vendors manage risk and thrive across the United States.