March 13, 2008
New tool links consumers, businesses with farmers to ease search for local foodsWEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Hoosiers can now find farm-fresh eggs or just-picked apples right in their neighborhood, thanks to a new interactive Web site called MarketMaker.
The Web site connects consumers, agricultural businesses and farmers, providing a one-stop shop to locate locally grown food products.
"Consumers, local food buyers, retailers and restaurants are all looking for a quick and easy way to locate Indiana food products," said Andy Miller, director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture. "MarketMaker is the tool to open new markets to Indiana food producers, helping farmers reach their market directly."
Indiana MarketMaker - online at http://www.inmarketmaker.com - currently has more than 150 farm enterprises with more farmers and food businesses registering each day. The Web site is free to consumers, farmers and businesses.
"For example, a consumer who wants to find fresh apples can go to the MarketMaker Web site and search for fruit from farmers/producers by city, county, state or multiple states," said Maria Marshall, Purdue Extension agriculture economics specialist and project coordinator. "A list of results will appear, and the consumer can look at a specific location or all locations around the state with that product for sale. They can also view other products offered by that business."
Consumers can search for dairy products, fruit and nuts, grains, herbs, meat, vegetables, and specialty products like honey from a variety of sources. MarketMaker users can narrow or expand their search using a variety of methods.
MarketMaker isn't just for consumers. It's also useful for the grocery store looking for organic tomatoes and the farmer looking for a place to sell them, Marshall said.
MarketMaker offers strategic marketing information for producers and food retailers alike, with demographic information and census data available. In addition to scanning databases, users can post requests or offer products for sale in a "Buy-Sell Forum."
"This is undeniably an effective way to locate specific new markets," said Jerry Nelson, a Purdue New Ventures Team Extension educator. "Restaurants know Indiana food product is out there. Now they know where to find it."
There are two types of MarketMaker searches:
* "Find a business," with information on producers/farmers, processors, wholesalers, retailers (groceries and restaurants) and farmers' markets.
* "Find a market," with information on household type, education, foreign born, race, income and income by race.
The results are sorted by city, county, state or multi-state and displayed in interactive map formats. Also, descriptions and contact information are listed for registered businesses.
"MarketMaker is modern technology at its best to help the consumer and agricultural producers," said Debbie Trocha, executive director of Indiana Cooperative Development Center (ICDC).
Marshall encourages food producers and those with product for sale to register their products online. To register, producers should visit http://www.inmarketmaker.com and click on the "register your business" button. For those who do not have Internet access and wish to register, contact Marshall at (765) 494-4268 and a form will be mailed.
MarketMaker is made possible by a collaboration of Purdue Extension, the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, ICDC and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development.
For more information, visit the MarketMaker Web site or contact Marshall at (765) 494-4268, email@example.com.
Writers: Julie Douglas, (765) 496-1050, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jeannie Keating, (317) 696-9695, email@example.com
Sources: Maria Marshall, (765) 494-4268, firstname.lastname@example.org
Andy Miller, (317) 232-8770, email@example.com
Jerry Nelson, (812) 886-9582, firstname.lastname@example.org
Debbie Trocha, (317) 275-2247, email@example.com
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