- Education and Training: technical assistance, extension
- Farm Business Management: marketing management
- Sustainable Communities: partnerships
Farmers’ markets are an important marketing venue for small family farms, providing low-cost marketing opportunities with retail level profits. They are also important to communities, playing a role in community revitalization efforts and local food security, as well as building community pride. Their continued benefit to agriculture and to local communities requires that farmers’ markets be structured to ensure their viability and prosperity. This project will increase the success rate of farmers’ markets by increasing the professional management skills of market management. Through a collaboration of extension educators, farmers’ market managers, and Farmers’ Market Federation of NY staff, this project will develop a curriculum that will provide training to extension educators to teach farmers’ market managers professional standards, policies and practices for the management of farmers’ markets. The curriculum will be offered through a series of workshops and a training manual. Workshops will look at the issues of market management, including basic market manager roles, leadership skills, and various market systems. Training in each subject area will provide extension educators the skills and resources to work with farmers’ market managers to develop their skill levels at the community level. After each year’s training sessions, a survey and follow-up phone calls will be made to assess the effectiveness of the workshops, the level of involvement of extension educators with market managers, and the degree of change in the management structure of the local farmers’ markets. At the end of the project, a training manual will be distributed to all extension offices and farmers' markets in New York State. As a result of the annual workshops and the written manual, 25 extension educators will use their new skills and written materials to work directly with farmers’ market managers in their region to develop professional farmers’ market management policies and practices.
Performance targets from proposal:
Of the 62 extension offices and over 300 farmers’ market management teams invited to participate in workshops and given a training manual, 25 extension educators will use their new skills and written materials to work directly with farmers’ market managers in their region to develop professional farmers’ market management policies and practices. The impact of their involvement will result in 75 farmers’ markets adopting new procedures, policies and market systems that will foster long-term sustainability for their farmers’ markets.