January 24, 2007

Workshops to promote farmers' markets

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Starting this month, workshops across the state will provide an overview of good marketing practices, food safety rules and regulations, as well as state resources for new and experienced farmers' market managers and producers.

The beginning-level session will be offered at Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service offices via IP video, and the advanced workshops will be in-person workshops at five locations throughout the state.

"New markets are forming frequently, and beginning managers often don't have a lot of resources," said Jennifer Dennis, workshop coordinator and specialty crop marketing specialist. "We hope to provide resources for these people and help existing managers make their markets stronger and safer."

The beginner session will discuss effective marketing, rules and regulations for safe food handling and state agencies that oversee farmers' markets. The IP video sessions will be broadcast on March 16, 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Current viewing locations include West Lafayette, Danville, LaGrange and Vincennes. The registration deadline is March 5.

Advanced workshops will include sessions on understanding the Women, Infants and Children program, food safety, target marketing strategies, rules and regulations and a resource fact sheet for Indiana farmers' markets. Workshops will be held on five different days in Indianapolis, Bicknell, Columbus, Lafayette and Fort Wayne from 9 a.m. to noon. Instructors will be available on site to address any questions.

The workshops are sponsored by the Indiana Cooperative Development Center, Purdue Extension New Ventures and Small Farms teams and the Department of Agricultural Economics.

"Farmers' markets are considered a temporary food retail establishment by the health department, so local inspections have really picked up over the past year and a half," Dennis said. "It is important for market managers to understand the regulations so they don't violate them. For example, hand-washing stations should be available for vendors who handle any type of food or meat product at each market."

Advanced-session locations and dates are:

• Indianapolis — Jan. 29. Indiana Horticulture Congress. Special registration. Call (765) 494-1296 or go online at http://www.inhortcongress.org

• Bicknell — Feb. 9. Knox County Fairgrounds (deadline Jan. 31)

• Columbus — March 2. Bartholomew County Fairgrounds (deadline Feb. 21)

• Lafayette — March 23. Tippecanoe County Fairgrounds (deadline March 14)

• Fort Wayne — April 20. Allen County Fairgrounds (deadline April 11)

Pre-registration is required, and registration cost includes all materials and snacks. The beginner workshop fee is $25, and the registration form is available online at http://www.agecon.purdue.edu/pdf/Entry_Level_2007_Farmers_Market.pdf. Participation for the beginner workshop at additional locations can be arranged by contacting your local county extension office. Advanced workshops are $20, and the registration form is available online at http://www.agecon.purdue.edu/pdf/Advanced_Level_2007_Farmers_Market.pdf.

For more information, contact Purdue Extension at (888) EXT-INFO.

Writer: Becki Francis, (765) 496-1050, rfrancis@purdue.edu

Source: Jennifer Dennis, (765) 494-1352, jhdennis@purdue.edu

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722;
Beth Forbes, forbes@purdue.edu
Agriculture News Page

Related Web sites:
Purdue Extension: http://www.ces.purdue.edu/

Department of Agricultural Economics: http://www.agecon.purdue.edu

Indiana Cooperative Development Center: http://www.icdc.coop/

 

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