We’ve talked a lot in the past couple of weeks about some of the intangible benefits of conference – getting away for a while, getting to network with a community of your peers, the food, the tours, oh and did we mention the FOOD? But now as the conference date approaches, I’m sure you want to hear more about the meat of it all – the sessions – and the value you will gain from those.
Let’s use this latest update to give you a run-down of some of the important topics that will be covered on the first day of conference – Tuesday, November 15th.
Welcome & 1st Morning Session
For those of you who didn’t arrive the night of the 14th to settle into the hotel and attend the preconference reception from 4:00 to 6:00 pm (with Hors D’Oeuvres and a cash bar!), this will be our chance to welcome you to the conference with a joint introduction by our board president. After the introduction and welcome, we will dive right into the first session presented by Kim Lamendola of Southern Tier West Regional Planning and Development. Kim will be speaking on Sharing the Community Benefits of Farmers Markets and her session will be just the thing to help you learn the language of government officials so you can spread the word about the benefits your market offers the surrounding community, build relationships and begin to leverage those relationships into support for your market.
Coffee Break & 2nd Morning Session
After the first session, we will take a brief coffee break from 10:30 to 11:00 so you can begin to do some networking, make new friends, and say hello to old ones before shifting into our second a.m. session where you will have the choice between one of two topics below. You can choose the topic that is most relevant to your market or which you most need to learn, but don’t worry – the presentation and materials from the other session will all be available on the USB Drive we’ll give you as you enter, so you can choose to review either topic at your leisure.
- Topic 1 – Market Manager Compensation, A Panel Discussion, presented by a panel of market managers from around the state, this presentation will review various methods used to compensate farmers market managers. Each speaker will discuss the pros and cons of each method, allowing you to choose the most effective method of manager compensation for your unique market.
- Topic 2 – Succession Planning for Farmers Market Manager Compensation, presented by Diane Eggert, will help you ensure the stability of your market over the long-term, even through a turnover of your markets most important position – the market manager. You’ll learn how to prepare for the loss of your manager, and how to make a smooth transition to a new one.
It was many a child’s favorite “subject” in school and we certainly won’t skip it! At noon, we’ll be breaking for an hour to enjoy a catered meal featuring local foods of the Southern Tier West Region, (and more opportunities to chat and network too!).
After Lunch Tour
To get the blood pumping again, we’ll be headed out on our first of three daily tours after our repast. Tours are always fun and we really get to know each other, and the surrounding area’s agriculture scene as well. On Tuesday, we’ll be touring the Eden Valley Co-op/WNY Food Hub to see just how their operations run. The Co-op is a 10-member vegetable farm and one of the region’s largest entities distributing local produce. In 2004, they were selected to house and operate the larger WNY Food Hub and now use their existing marketing channels to help smaller produce farmers enter the wholesale market.
When we return from the tours at 4:00 PM we will have one more learning opportunity. Patricia Burgio, Director of Communications of the Lancaster School District will teach us all about Working with the Media. Do you know how to talk with a reporter? What to say? What not to say? What is the right body language? This session will help you speak with the media, give a positive image of you and your market and come out with stronger support for your market. After, we’ll break into small groups to practice!
After another break to allow everyone time to visit their rooms and get freshened up, Tuesday night at 6:00 PM we will be hosting the Annual Market Manager’s Banquet. If you have already bought your tickets for conference but did not purchase banquet tickets, make sure to return to the payment page and purchase banquet tickets – you do not want to miss this! Again, we will enjoy a local foods dinner with featured speaker Tom Rivers, author of “Farm Hands: Hard Work and Hard Lessons from Western New York Fields.”
After the banquet, join us in the hospitality suite for more drinks and snacks before we retire to our rooms for some rest in preparation for another 2 exciting days of conference. This is only day one!
If you haven’t yet registered, we still have some spaces available. Reserve yours now at: