We are just 2 weeks away for the NYS Farmers Market Managers Conference. Have you registered yet?
Are you still on the fence? Let me tell you that this is one of the most relevant, information packed
conferences we have hosted in a while. The conference centers around the issue that we have heard
over and over again. Not just from New York market managers and farmers, but from markets all across
the country. Farmers markets are experiencing a downward trend in customer participation and that
means lost sales for farmers.
Each session at the 2017 conference is aimed at helping market managers better understand our
customers and our competition. Once we have a clear understanding, we will have an easier time
making the adjustments necessary to reach new customers, retain our current customer base and
increase sales per customer. In the end, we know that farmers markets should be at the top of the local
food system. But our competition is savvy and have been able to temporarily knock us off that top spot.
This conference will help put us back on top! So don’t miss out on this important event!
You can find all the information you need to attend at http://www.nyfarmersmarket.com/overview/.
The agenda, registration and online payment and hotel information are all available here.
WE also have some new information from our Extension hosts at Broome County Cooperative Extension.
Our conference will take place at the new Ag Development Center in the Taste NY building across the
driveway from the Extension offices. Registration, vendor tables and breaks will be held in the atrium.
Coffee and tea will be offered in the atrium and tasty snacks and treats can be purchased in the Taste NY
store. Remember, everything in the Taste NY store is local so your purchases will be supporting local
farmers and food producers.
Plenary sessions will be held in the Ag Development Center, a beautiful new facility. Breakout sessions
and lunches will be held in the Broome County Regional Farmers Market, across the driveway. This new
facility hosts a year round farmers market, a community kitchen and classroom. Also, our evening meal
on Tuesday night will be held in the Farmers Market.
Our Monday Meet and Greet will be an opportunity for us all to get to know one another before
conference sessions start Tuesday morning. The Meet and Greet will be held in the Farmers Market. We
are asking everyone to bring something to share from your market; cheese, baked goods, veggies and
dip or whatever. Sharing your market’s foods will be your ability to show off your market and use as an
ice breaker to meet others who share your passion for farmers, markets and local food.
To see the new facilities at the Broome County Extension campus is worth the trip alone. But add that to
the wealth of information from conference sessions and from networking with market managers across
New York State and beyond, makes the 2017 Farmers Market Managers Conference a not-to- be-missed
Looking forward to seeing everyone in Binghamton, November 7 -9!
The Federation would like to say thank you to all of our service men and women by sharing the harvest of fresh, healthy and locally grown food from over 700 farmers markets across the state. New York state local farmers are second to none in the production of nutritious and flavorful foods. Whether tomatoes, strawberries, chicken or milk, farmers pack up their farm fresh products and head to the farmers market to bring their food to the community.
Many of the state’s farmers markets participate in the SNAP program, making farmers markets accessible to everyone in their community. SNAP users can enjoy a boost in buying power at many of the farmers markets by receiving incentive coupons to be used on additional food at the market. Some programs, such as FreshConnect and Health Bucks, give a 40% boost by distributing a $2 coupon for every $5 in SNAP benefits spent at the market. A program in Western NY offers a 100% boost up to $20 to encourage SNAP usage at farmers markets.
In addition, New York State distributes FreshConnect coupons through many Veterans Centers and allows vets to shop at farmers markets with these coupons, without being tied to SNAP.
We encourage you to use this Military Flyer to let the veterans in your community know about local farmers markets and the benefits provided by shopping local and direct from farmers!
The summer of 2016 was marked with moderate to severe drought across New York State. Farmers struggled to have salable crops to bring to the farmers market. With the devastation that drought brings to farmers, they also reported decreased customer counts and sales while participating at markets. With few exceptions, market managers and farmers all reported a decrease in customer counts. Some farmers reported sales down anywhere from 20% to 70%. Many speculations were made on what caused the downturn: media hype regarding the impact of the drought on local farmers, over-proliferation of farmers markets in many areas of the state cannibalizing each other’s customer base; increasing options for consumers to purchase local reducing their dependence on farmers markets to access local food, customer response to the “inconvenience” of farmers markets, or any other, as yet, unknown causes.
The Federation, in partnership with Cornell Cooperative Extension, is purposing a project to provide markets with the tools they need to build a solid business foundation for the market, learn what customers think about farmers markets and provide a toolkit of information to assist farmers markets in maintaining and growing their customer base and restoring and increasing farmers sales at the markets where they are participating.
To help craft the project to reflect the needs of markets and their participating farmers, we need your help. We have created an online survey for your input. The responses will help us draft a grant proposal to fund the project. Please respond no later than Friday, February 17.
Farmers, please use the link here to reach a survey designed specifically for farmers market farmers and vendors. https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NRWMCYS
Market Managers, organizers and those involved in managing markets, please use the link here to reach a survey designed specifically to learn your needs and interests. https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NFVQYYD
We are now in the final 6 months of our Cultivating Success: Farm and Market Websites Project funded through USDA’s Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) grants. We’ve successfully created a lot of new websites for markets and farms but we need your help to complete the project!
We are still accepting submissions from people who would like a website created for their farm or farmers market – but only until August 15th!
This is an amazing opportunity as participants will have their websites created for them for free and also have their first year’s hosting and domain fees paid for by the Federation. In order to participate, you will need to gather all the information needed to create your website together and submit a Farm Website Design Request or Market Website Design Request depending on whether you are a farm or farmers market.
Please do not submit incomplete forms as this can delay the process. Spaces are limited and the sites will be created on a first come first served basis so please complete the form as soon as possible. Please also forward this email on to anyone who you think might be interested in this program so we make sure to meet our goal to create 100 sites. Remember, the websites come with training videos and a guidebook on how to maintain and update your site so ANYONE can participate in this program, even if you have limited tech skills or previously thought it would be too hard to understand WordPress.
Contact [email protected] with any questions about submitting the form or enrolling in the program.
EXAMPLES OF COMPLETED SITES:
SOME OF THE FEEDBACK WE’VE RECEIVED ABOUT THE PROGRAM:
“Thank you so much! NEVER thought I would say I am actually having fun doing this – working with websites has always been such a struggle before.”~ Market Website Participant
“Loving the website your group designed. Wow! Slick, professional.”~ Farm Website Participant
“I want you to know I really feel like I have the tools to make this website work and update it on a regular basis. I am going to start small and work on it and may send you e-mails from time to time but this has been a FABULOUS project. Thank you again.” ~ Farm Website Participant