Learn Market Magic At 2012 Workshop

Learn Market Magic At 2012 Workshop

Raising great food in local communities and selling it at farmers markets provides opportunities for smaller farmers - and for consumers.

The 14 annual "Iowa Farmers Market Workshop" will take place February 11 in Des Moines. If you are interested in growing food locally and selling it in local communities, mark your calendar now to attend.

Mercedes Taylor-Puckett is the key presenter at the 2012 edition of the annual Iowa Farmers Market Workshop. The presentation, "Making Market Magic" will cover creating and promoting a thriving market. A second presentation will go over "Farmers Markets Basics".

Mercedes Taylor-Puckett will be the key presenter at the 2012 Iowa Farmers Market Workshop February 11 in Des Moines, Iowa.

The workshop is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, February 11, 2012. It will take place at First Christian Church, 2500 University Ave., Des Moines. The workshop registration fee is $30 and includes lunch. Advance registration is recommended; walk-ins can register ($40) at 8:30 a.m.

This is exciting time for farmers markets; consumers are recognizing the value

"With a wave of the market manager's wand — POOF! — a farmers market materializes," Taylor-Puckett says. "To the public, this is what appears to happen. But market folk know the reality behind the illusion: much work goes into the creation of a vibrant atmosphere that's conducive to robust vendor sales. Market magic takes solid research, innovative collaboration, strong planning, and first-rate implementation."

"We're in an exciting time for farmers markets," she adds. "The number of markets across the nation has exploded. Consumers are recognizing the value of great food raised in their own communities. More young people are interested in becoming farmers. But, farmers markets are about more than fresh fruit and vegetables. At their core, markets are about relationships."

She will also present on farmers market basics, which will be informative for experienced and new managers.

Farmers markets, more than fresh fruit & vegetables, they're about relationships

Mercedes Taylor-Puckett is the Local Food and Farmers Market Coordinator for Kansas Rural Center's Farmers Market Project, which supports the 75+ markets in Kansas through conferences, workshops and the www.ksfarmersmarkets.org website.

Her current projects include expanding SNAP access at farmers markets, as well as launching the local food branding program "Our Local Food" for the state of Kansas. In addition to serving as the Kansas co-lead for the National Farm to School Network, Mercedes is involved with farm food safety and the Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) Program. She contributes to the Great Plains Growers Conference as a member of the planning committee, develops manager and board training, and organizes the annual Kansas Farmers Market Conference. Mercedes is also the administrator of www.ksfarmersmarkets.org.

Prior to joining KRC, she was the coordinator of the Downtown Lawrence Farmers Market and served as the local food forager for the 2008 National SARE Conference in Kansas City.

The February 11 workshop in Des Moines is sponsored by the Iowa Farmers' Market Association (IFMA), to provide training and information for farmers market managers and vendors. For information visit www.iafarmersmarkets.org, or contact Ginny Gieseke, IFMA President, at [email protected]; 515 277 6951.

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