; Classroom on wheels: Reducing marketing and human resource risk. | Conferences | AgRisk Library


Conference Name Classroom on wheels: Reducing marketing and human resource risk.

John Berry


Diversification of enterprises has been a long standing response to managing risk in farming. Diversification of farm product markets has been an increasingly significant component of long term farm viability. Developing, maintaining and growing retail farm marketing channels continues to be an alternative for women farmers especially in suburban and urban geographies.

The Pennsylvania Retail Farm Market Association and this educator recognize the roles women often fullfil on farms that utilize retail marketing of farm products, and possibily value-added products. Together a successful "classroom on wheels" educational experience has been developed, promoted, delivered and evaluated over the past 8 years to address the professinal development needs of retail farm market owners, managers, employees and interested educators. In addition to the retail marketing knowledge and skill gain the human resource management issues hightlighted and discussed add to our understanding of managing human resource risk in both marketing and family settings.

The concept involves taking a full day away from the home market during the busiest season to visit and explore a wide range of retail farm markets across the Mid Atlantic. These activities include peer-to-peer learning, networking, formal education and socialization. Because these trips occur during busy times when we should be at home making decisions and generating revenue - but also because these busy times are when it is best to see other markets working - these bus tours are titles The "Are You Crazy?" Retail Farm Market Bus Tour.

Over the years at least 450 women have participated in this tour as both tour participants and host market operators. There is formal evaluation data indicating the value of the experience, new ideas gathered, new concepts learned and anticipated changes to the home market. We also have follow-up data indicating changes made because of participation in the tours.

The advisary committee for this program has gender equity. The non-traditional delivery of this program may enhance women´s participation.