New Link Connects Farmers, Marketers and Consumers

MarketMaker Web site is a free new tool to connect family shoppers with farmers - and everyone in between - including restaurants and grocery stores.

MarketMaker on the Web offers a free new tool to connect family shoppers with farmers – and with everyone in between including restaurants and grocery stores. That's good for consumers who wonder where to find fresh local products and goods for small farms with no marketing budget. To try the tool, visit www.agmrc.org and click the MarketMaker link.

States already part of MarketMaker's growing network include Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, New York and Ohio. Colorado, the District of Columbia, South Carolina and other states are expected to join soon.

"MarketMaker began as an online database of Illinois businesses and was so successful that now other states have joined the effort," says University of Illinois Extension specialist Richard Knipe. "University of Illinois developed and owns the tool but the multi-state partnership that is able to pool large amounts of food industry data and provide it to the public really adds value to the resource."

Family shoppers can use MarketMaker

Family shoppers can use the MarketMaker Web site to search for restaurants or places to buy everything from freshly picked or pick-your-own produce, to maple syrup and wine. Farmers can search for farmers markets, grocery stores and other outlets to sell their food products.

The original Web site is located at www.marketmaker.uiuc.edu. From there, visitors can search for restaurants, grocery stores, farms and other production facilities across several states. "It's more than a directory of information because it has interactive features like mapping and search capabilities so users can really target and focus on the data that they need," says Knipe.

Each state has a unique site but all the data from all other MarketMaker states can be accessed from any location. The national MarketMaker link at www.agmrc.org is hosted by the national Agricultural Resource Center at Iowa State University. The AgMRC link provides a clickable map of the entire United States. Participating states are highlighted, making it easy for users to navigate from state to state or to regionalize their data searches.

Farms and businesses can sign up for a free listing on the MarketMaker site at register.marketmaker.uiuc.edu/MMregistration/index.php?state=19.  

"Our goal is to make the site a resource for all farmers and businesses in the food supply chain," says Knipe. "We are as interested in helping a grocery store find farm-fresh eggs as we are in helping the farmer find a place to sell them, so it's important to include as many producers in our database as possible."

Access MarketMaker through the national MarketMaker link at www.agmrc.org.

For more information about MarketMaker, contact any member of the development team:
Richard Knipe - [email protected]; 309-792-2500
Darlene Knipe - [email protected]; 309-792-2500
Sandy Shetler - [email protected]; 815-441-0300
Raymond Hansen - [email protected]; 515-294-3890

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