Guest blog by Corrina Smith - Executive Director, Columbia Farmers Market / Secretary, MFMA Board of Directors
Running a farmers’ market can be challenging. We all are juggling numerous balls in the air to make sure that our markets run smoothly. I love my job, and embrace the daily challenges, but I joke (but kinda serious) that my job description is a never-ending list of professions that I would have never had imagined. In addition to running an 80+ vendor market, I’m also the person vendors and employees look to when there’s a technology issue, a plumbing issue, an electrical issue. I’m responsible for the weather (only when it’s cold or raining though!). I am the accountant, a website designer, a farm inspector, a tent fixer, a photographer, a fundraiser, a special event coordinator and so much more! Sound familiar? One thing that I put at the top of my list of responsibilities - and am always honing - is marketing my market!
When the Columbia Farmers Market hired me, I knew having a website, using Facebook and email were important. Over the past six years that I have been the Market Manager/Executive Director that list has grown….by a lot. Every time I turn around there is a new social media platform. It is imperative now to have an up-to-date website. The numerous ways to communicate with customers and vendors increases and evolves (text, email, phone, snail mail, Facebook messenger, etc.). There are so many different types of advertising, each reaching a different customer type. It’s overwhelming. What is the best website platform to use? How often do I post to Facebook? Do I blog? How do I deal with a negative Google review? How do I stay on brand? What is a brand? What should I have on my website? Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchap, ahh!
We exist in a world where technology is moving at a rapid pace, and our farmers’ markets have to keep up, to stay relative and competitive. Walk into any grocery store’s produce section and what do you see? A replica of any of our farmers’ booths. What do they have that we don’t? Delivery, online ordering, store pickup, meal prep kits, the merging of Amazon and Whole Foods, and a large budget to promote anything and everything. On the flip-side though, what do we have that they don’t? We provide a direct interaction between consumers and the farmers and artisans that produced their food. We have the freshest, healthiest, tastiest food available in our regions. We have variety and heirlooms. We have education, music, and programming. We are a community.
So how do we compete? How do we throw one more ball in the air? The long and the short of it is, because we have to. We have to tell our stories. We have to educate potential shoppers on what we offer, and the importance farmers’ markets bring to our communities. While all of the online marketing platforms are overwhelming, they are also amazing minimal to free costs tools we can use. Even better, there are many tools now out there that streamline many of the platforms. I have come to utilize many of them, and they help me keep my marketing work hours at a minimum, allowing me to put more time to other important market management tasks!
Our hope with the 2019 Missouri Farmers Market Association Conference is to give you many tools and information that will help you properly market your farmers’ markets. Please join us January 18-19, 2019 in Jefferson City at Lincoln University. Our featured speaker, Kristen Brown, of Hoot Design Co. (Columbia, MO), will provide attendees with the resources on how markets of all shapes and sizes can get started on “Marketing the Market”!
10th Street Community Farmers' Market - Lendi Davis
Aurora Local Farmer's Market - Trish Matheny
Bollinger County Farmers Market - Tory Shade
Bollinger County Farmers Market - Katie Godsey
Boone County Farmers Market - John Blevins
Boonville Farmers Market - Debbie Ellebracht
Brookside Farmers' Market - Daniel Heryer
Capital City Farmers Market - Diana Duncan
Cedar County Farmers' Market (El Dorado Springs) - Jenean Ehlers
Chillicothe Farmers Market - Beth Weidner
City of Campbell - Raymond A. Gunter
Cole Camp Area Farmers Market - Regina Fischer
Cole County Farmers Market - Kenny Anderson
Cole County Farmers Market - Kim Fischer
DeSoto Farmers Market - Debby Campbell
DeSoto Farmers Market - Cindy Valle
Downtown Lee's Summit Farmers Market - Ashley Nowell
Downtown Poplar Bluff Farmers' Market - Jerrica Fox
Eureka Farmers' Market - Ted Barklage
Farmers Market in Camdenton (Farmers Alliance of Rural Missour)i - Sandy Nelson
Farmers Market in Camdenton (Farmers Alliance of Rural Missouri) - Sally Bauder
Fort Leonard Wood Farmer's Marke - tMatthew Byrum
Fulton Farmers Market - Joan Schwede
Gladstone Farmer's Market - Shelle McCartney
Golden Valley Produce & Craft Market - Dennis Winkler
Greater Polk County Farmers Market - Jim Gulick
Greater Springfield Farmers' Market - Brad Gray
Heartland Growers Association(Blue Springs Farmers Market) - Reta Schaefer
Hickory County Farmers Market - Johnathan Hayes
Hickory County Farmers Market - Dawn Vader
Independence Farmers Market - Joe Antoine
Ivanhoe Neighborhood Council - Neil Rudisill
Jackson Farmer's Market - Grant Gillard
Jackson Farmer's Market - Nancy Gillard
Joplin Empire Market - Ivy Hagedorn
Lake St. Louis Farmers & Artisans Market - Matthew Kern
LCBA Farmer's Market - Diana Huckstep
Lebanon Farmers' Market - Kate Bolden
Lebanon Farmers' Market - Liz Hamann
Lincoln County Farmers Market - Wanda Gleason
Lincoln University Farmers' Market - Isabel Jacome-Alvarez
Lone Star Plaza Farmers Market - Randee Cary
Marshfield Farmers' Market - Sue DeWitt
Marshfield Farmers' Market - Ray Hacket
Midtown Farmers Market - Deborah Henderson
Northeast Farmers' Market - Jenna Wilkins
Olde Towne Fenton Farmers Market - Kate Buemi
Orr Street Farmers' and Artisans' Market - Roy Hartley
Osage Beach Farmers Market - Nathan Bechtold
Ozark Farmers Market - Katherine Dowdy
Ozark Farmers Market - Vicki McKenna
Pony Express Farmers Market - Dean Ryerson
River Hills/Wind Ridge Markets - Kelly Klober
Scotland County Farmers' Markets - Denise Garrett
Sedalia Area Farmers' Market - Brenda Raetz
Shepherd Of The Hills Development LLC - Jeff Johnson
South St. Joseph Farmers Market at the Junction - Martha Clark
Southside Farmers' Market - Mollie Gilliland
St. Clair Farmers Market - Roger Bardot
St. Clair Farmers Market - Deborah Hogan
Ste. Genevieve Co. Farmers' Market - Jim Bruckerhoff
The Farmers' Market at Fort Leonard Wood - Samantha Kramer
The Ol' Time Farmers Market - Chelle Kennedy
Tower Grove Farmers' Market - Patrick Horine
Troy Farmers and Artisan Market (Formerly Cuivre River Farmers Market) - Paula Reed
Waldo Farmer's Market - Diane R. Hershberger
Waldo Farmer's Market - Rodger Kube
Warsaw Farmers Market - Robert Gemes
Webb City Farmers Market - Eileen Nichols
Webb City Farmers Market - David Hill
Are you getting the most from your listing on the MFMA website? Check out our Directory to see how your information appears.
To make changes: Go to “Member Log-In” tab, log in with your Market’s email address and password.
We need you! By being the Featured Market at the Conference, you will have an hour session to brag on and present a little information on your Market, your history, your products, your vendors, what worked, what didn’t, what you may be wanting to try, how you accomplished your goals, that kind of thing! In return for your presentation, you will be highlighted in the Conference program and promotions leading up to the Conference. You will also receive two comped admissions to the Conference, one hotel room for two nights, and mileage for one vehicle. At past Conferences, we have had a Host Market, moving the Conference from different locations and Farmers Markets across the state. This past year we decided to hold the conference in Jefferson City each year, as it is a central location, and have developed a great working relationship with Lincoln University and the Missouri Department of Agriculture. While we loved being able to visit Missouri Farmers Markets each year, having a centralized location logistically makes sense. To that end, we still want our Missouri Farmers Markets to have the opportunity to promote themselves and thus we created the Featured Market. If you want to help with the planning of the Conference you are welcome to join us! If your Market is interested in being the 2019 MFMA Conference’s Featured Market please email this application to email@example.com.
The 2019 annual MFMA Conference will be January 18-19 2019, at Lincoln University, Jefferson City.
Stay tuned for more details!
Over the last year the Association’s Board of Directors has been working diligently on ways to improve our communication and outreach to current members, ways to add value to the MFMA membership and steps to grow membership. Through monthly board meetings, conference calls and idea sharing we have come up with what we think are some positive and realistic goals that we would like to share with you.
The focus of our Association will be to support, inform and offer educational opportunities to the market managers throughout our State. Although we currently offer and will continue to offer support and information for all aspects of opening and operating a farmers market, our main focus will be on the managers role.
We aspire to reach our goals by offering our membership a variety of new programs, memberships and newsletter. We will be sending out monthly newsletters written by each of our board members. We are currently working on details in conjunction with the Missouri Department of Agriculture co-hosting regional trainings for various markets throughout the State. We hope to have more stories, pictures, recipes and testimonials from you our farmer’s market members. These items can be shared and posted on our MFMA Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.
As many of you know, we currently offer a few different levels of MFMA membership, as well as a Missouri Farm Bureau liability insurance policy for markets that comes with a Missouri Farm Bureau membership. In addition, we now have a complimentary Association membership to the Farmers Market Coalition (value $40). We are a State Partner with Farmers Market Coalition (FMC), therefore now ALL of our member markets will receive a membership at no additional charge. You will be receiving more details on how to use all of the wonderful tools that FMC has to offer soon.
How many of you are aware of or use the “perks” that are available with your Missouri Farm Bureau membership? One of our board members has been enjoying significant savings on her market printing costs (30%) by utilizing the Office Depot business account discount that she gets from that membership. If you haven’t noticed it, we want to encourage you to use that Farm Bureau membership to its fullest.
In addition, don’t forget to register your market with the free AgriMissouri membership listing. You may also edit, add to and enhance your MFMA website listing. Please take advantage of the newest edition of the Farmers Market Handbook as it was recently edited and updated in collaboration with the Missouri Agriculture Department and MFMA Board of Directors. It is a valuable tool that can be used by any market, manager or entity that wants to start a market from the ground up to a market that has been around for years.
In the coming months, you will continue to hear from various board members sharing a variety of information. You will also be receiving more details about our 2019 annual conference.
We hope to hear from you, our members, letting us know what you might like to see our Association offer. What tools, educations, support and information would you like to have in your market basket?
Many thanks for all of the work you do. Here’s to a great market season.
Manager- Schlafly Farmers Market, Maplewood MO
Manager- Point Labaddie Farmers Market, Labadie, MO
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) today announced nearly $89 million in available funding to strengthen local and regional food systems.
The Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program will split a total of $26 million in funding between the Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) and the Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP). FMPP helps fund direct farmer-to-consumer marketing activities through capacity building; and community development, training and technical assistance projects. LFPP projects require a 25 percent match and focus on planning and implementation of local and regional food intermediary supply chain development.
AMS will host one webinar for applicants of both FMPP and LFPP on Wednesday, March 28, 2018 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Applications for FMPP and LFPP must be submitted electronically through www.grants.gov by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on May 7, 2018.
AMS will host a webinar to introduce potential applicants to the Grants.gov application process on Tuesday, March 27, 2018 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
Applicants are urged to start the grants.gov registration process as soon as possible to ensure that they meet the application deadline. Applicants are also encouraged to submit their application well in advance of the posted due date. Any grant application submitted after the due date will not be considered unless the applicant provides documentation of an extenuating circumstance that prevented their timely submission of the grant application. Read more in AMS Late and Non-Responsive Application Policy.
For more information about these programs, visit the AMS Grants & Opportunities web page and learn more about eligibility and grant uses at What AMS Grant is Right for Me?
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender