Professional Development for Ohio Farmers Market Managers and OSU Extension Educators on Creating a Culture of Data Collection for Sustainability Planning for Markets and Farmers

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2019: $81,316.00
Projected End Date: 09/30/2023
Grant Recipient: The Ohio State University Extension
Region: North Central
State: Ohio
Project Coordinator:
Christie Welch
The Ohio State University Extension
Eric Barrett
Ohio State University Extension

Information Products


Not commodity specific


  • Education and Training: decision support system, extension, networking, participatory research, workshop
  • Farm Business Management: farmers' markets/farm stands
  • Sustainable Communities: sustainability measures

    Proposal abstract:

    This project will train Ohio farmers markets, including those in Ohio’s 32 Appalachian counties, in all areas, sizes, ages, and levels of capacity on dynamic data collection and analysis to gain economic and ecological data that can increase their sustainability. Extension professionals and farmers markets managers will be trained in the use of the materials for their work with direct-to-consumer farmers. The materials will be paired with case studies featuring Extension staff and sustainable farmers on farm-level data being collected and the complementary market-level data needed to grow these businesses.  This training will be conducted through the new Ohio Farmers Market Network (OFMN)'s managers certification program, other existing networks, and regionally with new, small or rural markets not yet aligned with networks. The project will result in a database of markets and their use of data systems, actionable strategies for aiding vendors with business and product development, a permanent data system curriculum for market trainers and Extension Educators, and case studies that highlight the different data needs of sustainable farmers. Through this project, a shared culture of data collection that benefits farmers, increases consumer awareness of the value of sustainable production and builds aggregated messaging will be gained.  Extension will be able to better partner with farmers markets on projects that serve farm businesses. The materials will be shared with neighboring states to increase the regional availability of data.

    Project objectives from proposal:






    Database of farmers markets formed between OFMN, OSUE, and FMC.

    Project summary sheet

    Baseline market data created

    Project summary sheet shared online (through database) and in articles to raise awareness of the project.

    120  market managers

    150 Extension Educators



    Conference attendance Schedule

    Project team members will present at 5 conferences throughout Ohio in Year 1 to create awareness. Conferences:

    OSU Extension Ag & Natural Resources,

    OSUE Community Development,

    Ohio Ecological Food & Farm Association,

    Ohio Farmers Markets Network,

    Ohio Produce Growers & Marketers Association

      225 managers, vendors, and extension educators learn about the need for data collection and how this project can assist them.


    Train Market Managers through OFMN certification program

    Market Manager Certification Training and Networks

    112 Market Managers receive training on data collection and use


    Train Market Managers that are not aligned with networks

    Travel of project team members to non-networked markets and train in person

    28  Market Managers in non-networked markets receive training on data collection and use


    Conduct interviews of DTC vendors to gather input on the data they use and/or need for business level sustainability planning and decision making

    Project team members interview 10 DTC vendors to gain insight on their data needs and develop case studies of these vendors to be included in the curriculum.

     10 DTC vendors share input on the data they use and/or need to make business decisions


    Data collection systems for markets and DTC vendors is created and the developed database of markets and their data systems will be shared statewide.

    Data collection systems developed.

    Curriculum developed.

    Train-the-trainer materials developed.

    20 Farmers Market managers and 20 Extension professionals will learn how to use the curriculum to train farmers market stakeholders on data collection and use.


    Train-the-trainer  Extension Educators Training

    Training to be held online and in-person to train OSU Extension Educators.

    20 OSU Extension Educators working with DTC vendors will be able to train these vendors and their local farmers markets on data collection and use.


    Train-the-trainer presentations on data collection systems

    Present at Michigan, Indiana, and West Virginia Farmers Markets Conferences on the tools developed through this project.

    150 market managers and stakeholders in surrounding states will be trained on data collection systems developed through this project. Once trained, these trainers can train markets and stakeholders in their states.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.