To provide a more consistent, systematic and in-depth approach for assisting producers with direct marketing, an advisory group was formed; multimedia curriculum resources were developed; 84 professionals participated in training; and evaluation provided both feedback and direction for future programming.
The goal was to have 90 professionals participate. A total of 84 professionals participated, with additional contacts online. Participants included diverse representation (gender, age, location and the organization represented), as well as a group from Purdue who then adapted the curriculum for producer workshops in Indiana. During the grant period, OSU Extension had a number of educators retire. New educators are being hired in 2013 and education will continue during the post-grant period, beginning with an August 2013 in-service.
Education & Outreach Initiatives
PowerPoint presentations with embedded video clips; printed business profiles and marketing tools; and other resources were shared with professionals, originally through a private, password protected website, then through DropBox and now through BuckeyeBox.
MarketReady is now a core resource offered by educators throughout the state. Resources for educators continue to be shared through BuckeyeBox and resources for producers are continually being developed by professionals and added to the website, http://directmarketing.osu.edu/content/marketready.htm.
Through onsite print and follow-up electronic evaluation, 91% of participants reported increased knowledge and 75% reported making changes in practices.
Professionals also networked and exchanged ideas through an annual conference, online tools, team-teaching and observation as the professional consulted with producers.
A solid foundation was established as a result of the educational framework developed through MarketReady curriculum, combined with the network of educators receiving professional development in rural and urban areas of Ohio.
The Ohio Direct Marketing Team receiving additional funding in 2013 from the NC Risk Management Education Center to develop a specialized MarketReady curriculum to prepare producers to sell to schools. This will provide additional resources for professionals to use as they assist producers.
As interest in local and regional food systems has grown, the MarketReady team of educators has expanded, not only in Ohio, but across the U.S. Specialized curriculum are being developed for specific markets, such as selling to schools. Collaboration among states has been invaluable and will continue to benefit Ohio educators as we move forward.