Tag Archives: Happenings

Open Today: 2017 Conference Scholarship Application Period!

The Federation will be hosting our 2017 annual conference in Binghamton, New York on November 7th through the 9th. This year, we will be focusing on creating customer friendly markets. Click on Conference Agenda to view a detailed schedule for this year’s conference!

We are excited to announce that we will be offering conference scholarships again this year! These scholarships provide a wonderful opportunity for smaller markets with lower budgets, those who may not have attended a conference in the past, and people from further away who may have to spend money to travel to the conference to be able to attend. To take advantage of this opportunity, simply click on the Scholarship Application to download and print the file and fill it out. Email it back to us at [email protected] no later than September 25th to be considered.

If awarded a scholarship, your registration fee for all three days of the event will be covered, including lunches and tours. If you need to stay overnight you will still be responsible for your own hotel accommodations. Applications will be reviewed based on the following criteria:

  1. The proposed plan for implementing the lessons learned at the conference.
  2. Need – i.e. making sure there is conference representation from the full diversity of markets around the state.

Since our goal is to encourage new attendees to the conference, preference will be given to less experienced managers, those representing small and/or emerging markets, and applicants who have not previously attended a conference. The decision will be at the discretion of the conference scholarship committee, and all awardees will be notified by October 13th and then must accept by October 20th. There will be no scholarships for single day/partial attendance, so please make sure you’ll be able to stay for the entire conference if selected.

Please help us spread the word – Send this link to anyone you know who might benefit from attending our conference for the first time! Those of you who have attended the conference in the past understand the value that you get not only from the sessions, but also from the fellowship of being surrounded and supported by all the market managers from around the state who each have different experiences and lessons to share.

We hope to see you all this November 7th to 9th in Binghamton!



Don’t Miss the Tuesday Deadline!

I hope everyone is having a productive Monday and a Happy Halloween! I know this time of year is busy for many of you as you tie up loose ends and prepare to close down your summer markets, but please remember that tomorrow is the deadline to reserve your hotel room and receive the conference discount. After that, normal room rates will apply  and because this conference is in such a beautiful location (see the image above), the normal rates are significantly higher. Please remember that even if you got a scholarship, you still need to book your room!

For those of you who have not yet registered for conference, you’ll want to do so ASAP but whatever you do, make sure to reserve your room by tomorrow! We will still accept conference registrations for a while longer, but fees are nonrefundable after the 4th. If you missed our recent articles that go into detail about what you’ll get from each day of conference, here they are again.

Monday Night

For those of you who plan to arrive Monday night to get settled in, please join us for a Pre-Conference Reception:

Join the Farmers Market Federation of NY on Monday, November 14 as we host a pre-conference reception in the lobby of the Holiday Valley Inn. The reception will be our launch into 3 days of workshops, tours and networking opportunities. Hors d’ Oeuvres and a cash bar will be open from 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm to welcome everyone to the Annual Farmers Market Managers Conference.


Tuesday we will kick off the conference with speakers, tours, and our annual banquet in the evening. Read all about it here: http://www.nyfarmersmarket.com/session-spotlight-tuesday/. 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! Tuesday at 6:00 pm 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.”


On day two of conference, Wednesday, we will have a number of informational sessions as well as a second set of tours. Read the breakdown here: http://www.nyfarmersmarket.com/wednesday-session-spotlight/


Stay tuned later this week for a full walkthrough of the benefits of attending Thursday’s sessions. You can read all of our recent articles here or check out our popular article, 10 Reasons Not to Miss Conference

Join more than 60 managers from around the state who have already registered for conference for three days of networking, learning, local food and fun, and building our markets!

Reserve your space today at:


10 Reasons Not to Miss Conference!

number-437928_1920We tend to do a number of posts reminding people to register for conference because the half-life of a post on social media is incredibly fast these days – and with the busy nature of this time of year, market managers can often see a post and then forget to take action. But don’t relegate this to the back of your to-do list for too long! There are so many important benefits that attending a FMFNY conference can bring. Here are a few of the many reasons to attend:

1. For the interaction. The conference is your opportunity to interact with other market managers from around the state. These opportunities don’t come up very often! This is perhaps the most important benefit of attending conference because we all have different ideas. There could be something you’re struggling with but another manager has a perfect solution for (or vice-versa). You might even network with other managers in your area and create a joint program or service to add value to your market(s).

2. The information learned at the sessions is invaluable. We will be learning from experts on topics such as: Market Manager Compensation, Succession Planning, Managing Vendor Diversity, Food Preparation at Markets, SNAP Best Practices and more. There might be a critical component to managing a market that you aren’t aware of or programs that your market could benefit from that you aren’t familiar with. Attending the workshops and sessions is a wonderful way to be exposed to the most critical topics and concepts relevant to farmers markets in New York State. We have been running these conferences for over 10 years so we know what works and what doesn’t!

3. The chance to get away! This year’s location at the Holiday Valley Resort is breathtaking. Check out their Photo Gallery. Amenities include free wi-fi, complimentary breakfast, a heated pool, and fitness center, and an on-site restaurant and bar. Who doesn’t need a few days away from home and a change of scenery every once in a while? You’ll come back refreshed, energized and ready to take on the challenges of running next year’s market with full steam ahead.

4. The food. You may not be aware of this, but we generally source the food for the included meals locally and make a point to support the local farms in the area. For those dinners on your own (or with new friends and colleagues) there are a bunch of good restaurant options in the area too.

5. The fellowship. What goes better with great food than great company? Come alone and make a new friend or two. Stay in touch and follow each other’s progress and you build your markets and grow as professional market managers too.

6. The tours. Tours are always a popular part of our conferences and we’ve got lots of them this year – farms, a food hub, and a local brew pub! Tour locations include The Eden Valley Co-op/WNY Food Hub, Ellicottville Brewing Company, Blue Hill Farm, White Cow Dairy, and Canticle Farms. Each location was chosen to showcase the Southern Tier West agriculture and food landscape and the tours will give market managers a guided look into farm production and marketing. At Blue Hill Farm and White Cow Dairy, we will even get to sample several of the small-batch, handmade products such as custards, yogurts, and tonics, syrups, tinctures, and bitters made with the farmstead’s milk!

7. It could be free. This year for the first time we have a scholarship option. Please apply if you are a new market manager, someone who has not been to a FMFNY conference in the past, or if you could not otherwise afford to go without the help of the scholarship. Scholarships are taken from membership dues and will cover your conference fee and lunches if your application is approved (but you will still be responsible for your own hotel room). Click here to download the application and instructions.

8. To support FMFNY. Our membership numbers and attendance at conference give us proof when it comes time to write grant applications of the number of markets we represent. Your membership and participation is appreciated because it allows us to keep doing the work that we do in serving markets, farmers and consumers throughout the state.

9. To see our smiling faces. You may speak with us over the phone at the Federation office throughout the year as we offer you programs and services to help you meet your market goals. For most of you, the annual conference is the one chance you have each year to interact with us face-to-face. We’d love to see you there!

10. Lastly, If you don’t go, you won’t know what you’re missing!


Register today at: http://www.nyfarmersmarket.com/annual-conference/.

Farmers Market Manager Training Conference

Farmers Market Manager Training Conference – “Building Capacity of Markets” – is this November 15th to 17th

The Farmers Market Federation of New York announces…

… its annual Farmers Market Managers Training Conference, “Building Capacity of Markets.” The conference will be co-hosted by the Farmers Market Federation, The Southern Tier West Regional Planning and Development and the Southern Tier West Farmers Market Network and will be held at the Holiday Valley Resort in Ellicottville, NY, November 15 – 17th.

holiday valley resort

The conference will focus on helping farmers markets build their capacity to grow and succeed for the benefit of their farmers, consumers, and host community. Our keynote speaker, Kim LaMendola, Southern Tier West Regional Planning and Development, will discuss the benefits that farmers markets bring to a community and help market managers understand the language needed to convey this critical message to government leaders. An evening banquet features Tom Rivers, author of Farm Hands: Hard work and hard lessons from the Western New York Fields. Tom’s talk is sure to enlighten and entertain.

Each session of the conference builds on the overall theme of building the capacity of farmers markets to grow and succeed,  improve attendees ability to manage their market, advance their market’s potential for long-term sustainability, and promote a marketplace that achieves a mission of supporting local farmers. Participating market managers are also taught the importance of providing a venue for consumers to purchase locally grown nutritious foods, and serving as responsible community partners.

The conference will feature a series of break-out sessions for emerging markets, focusing on helping them to bring their markets up to the next level of success. Other breakouts will focus on experienced managers, talking about more advanced concepts such as best practices in SNAP programs at farmers markets.

The 2016 Conference will feature daily tours to farms, a food hub, and a local brew pub: The Eden Valley Co-op/WNY Food Hub, Ellicottville Brewing Company, Blue Hill Farm and White Cow Dairy, and Canticle Farms. Each location was chosen to showcase the Southern Tier West agriculture and food landscape and to give market managers a guided look into farm production and marketing. At Blue Hill Farm and White Cow Dairy, we will sample several of the small-batch, handmade products such as custards, yogurts, and tonics made with the farmstead’s milk and other ingredients such as handmade tonics, syrups, tinctures, and bitters.

Another new feature of the 2016 Farmers Market Managers Conference is a scholarship program to encourage market managers across New York State to take advantage of the lessons and networking that happens at the conference. To access the conference scholarship application, go to http://www.nyfarmersmarket.com/overview.  But hurry, deadline for scholarship applications is September 26.

The Farmers Market Managers Training Conference is your opportunity to boost your skills as a market manager; network with others across the state and beyond; share ideas, suggestions and questions; and even make new friendships. Register now for the 2016 Farmers Market Managers Conference: “Building Capacity of Markets.”

Special thanks to this year’s conference sponsors: Premier Marketing, ManageMyMarket, Karen Karp and Partners and LeadNY.

The full conference program, agenda and hotel information can be found at http://www.nyfarmersmarket.com/overview.  For more information, contact the Farmers Market Federation of NY at[email protected] or call 315-400-1447.

Farmers Market Events: Music at the Market


Does your market hold market events to draw additional customers to the market and keep your existing customers entertained and coming back for more?

It’s that time of year where the weather is beautiful and produce is bountiful so take advantage and schedule some fun events at your market! Here is a great example of a market event to be held at the West Bloomfield Farmers Market. From their newsletter:

“The next two Fridays in August (8/19 & 8/26) WEBERMUSIC will be bringing their shakers and claves, tambourines & bells, and all sorts of other hand percussion instruments for budding young (and old!) percussionists to play along with us as we sing and play for a few hours.

We have plenty of parking, lots of shade and there is always a breeze so bring your friends & family, lawn chairs, and some eco-friendly bags if ya got ’em to take all your fresh fruits & veggies home, and come see what all the buzz is about.” They’ve also included a link to the event on Facebook where they’ve invited everyone so folks can RSVP and share the event with their friends: https://www.facebook.com/events/1283614505005446/.

Including the photo of the musicians really helps bring the event to life and helps customers picture themselves there, having fun listening to the music. The musicians are even bringing extra instruments so people can get really involved and play along. New customers will remember how much fun they had and return to the market even on days where there are no events, to buy more of the fresh, local produce.

So if you’re in that neck of the woods, head on down to this Friday and next Friday to join in on the fun. If you’re not local to West Bloomfield, use this event as an example for your market. Maybe your calendar of events is looking pretty sparse this year – time to spruce it up! Maybe you’ve scheduled lots of events but you’re forgetting to spread the word through newsletters, Facebook events, social media posts, and flyers posted at other local venues. Many of these promotion methods are cheap or free and events do not need to eat up a huge chunk of your budget so get creative with your market events.

Other options besides music can include children’s activities and crafts, festivals and art shows, cooking demonstrations and prepared foods sales, wine/beer/cheese/veggie/fruit tastings and samplings, baking/cooking competitions, fundraisers for a local charity, book signings, ethnic dancers or other performing artists, pet events etc.

Here’s are some additional resources to give you more ideas:

You are only limited by your imagination! And remember, just because you’re not having a special event that week doesn’t mean you can’t make the market into an event and publicize it through your newsletter and social media channels as well. A regular market is an event in its own right! Just list what some of the vendors will be selling and any special information relevant to that week’s market.

Thanks to the West Bloomfield Market and WEBERMUSIC for allowing us to share their event and photo. If your market is having a special event that you think would be a great example, please send a photo and description to [email protected] and your event might be featured on our blog as well! Happy planning!! 🙂


We’re Starting a Blog!

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to-do-list-749304_1280Our website has been an incredible resource for NYS markets and farmers for a number of years, but up until now we’ve always done our newsletter in a paper format.  Diane even remembers the days when (back before everyone had email), she had to print and fold the newsletter in paper format and send copies to everyone in the mail.

But times are changing and so are we!  We are excited to announce that for the 2016 membership year, the Federation is replacing the old quarterly paper/pdf format of our newsletter with our new blog and we’ll now be keeping you up-to-date on all things Federation and farmers markets right here on the website.

What this means for you:

You’ll now have a handy place to come to and see what the latest is, both here in the Federation office and around the state.  Just bookmark this link and check it often http://www.nyfarmersmarket.com/theblog or if you prefer, subscribe to our email list if you haven’t already and you can read the latest there.  You might even get the opportunity to shine the spotlight on your market or farm or something interesting happening in your corner of NYS.

What this means for us:

We’ll be able to keep you updated more frequently by adding each article or bit of news as soon as it is relevant and keep the information timely. No more folding paper newsletters or formatting PDFs!

We’re also putting out a Call to Action for Market Managers and other agricultural stakeholders around the state.  We’d like to invite you to participate and make use of this space and take advantage of the great traffic we get on our site:

Got an idea for an article?  Shoot it our way. Or perhaps you already have some existing content you think we could repurpose or share.  Maybe you know about something our readers would be interested in finding out about.

Got photos of your market or farm you’d like featured on our site?  Great – we may be able to use them in an upcoming article.

Please don’t forget to add this to your “to-do” list.  Send all submissions to [email protected].  We will feature as many as we can in an upcoming blog article and/or email blast.  We look forward to seeing YOU featured and to continuing to provide you with the most relevant up-to-date information on New York State’s amazing farmers markets.