Cultivating Your Farmers Market Knowledge

 

Farmers’ Markets are a vital part of Indiana’s local food system. They allow consumers to interact and develop relationships directly with the farmers who grow the produce. This process has allowed knowledge to be shared on how to utilize the produce and about food safety.

Between the desire for locally sourced food, the increase in local growers, and the excitement associated with the farmers’ market experience, Indiana has witnessed an increase in the number markets. To be exact, since 2009, the number of farmers’ markets in Indiana has doubled with over 177 markets taking place. The surge in farmers’ markets is an important component in Indiana’s local food system and is a great starting point for new or beginning farmers, or those interested in diversifying their consumer base.

Farmers’ markets operate in a wide range of locals including rural towns, parking lots, and on downtown city streets. Most operate during the standard growing season of June to November; however, some deviate from this by having winter markets. Due to the differences between markets, it is important to contact the market master or sponsoring organization early on when you decide to become a vendor.

To help those who want to become a farmers’ market vendor or currently are a vendor, Purdue Extension is hosting the Cultivating Your Farmers Market Knowledge program. This three night event will take place on January 8, February 12, and March 12 at the Putnam County Extension Office (12 Central Square, Greencastle, IN).

On January 8, participants will learn about Growing for the Market. During that evening, Jim Baughman with Freedom Valley Farm LLC will discuss utilizing high tunnels to produce for the market. On February 12, participants will learn about food safety and home based vendor rules from Indiana State Department of Health Training Specialist, Lisa Harrison. Then on the final night, March 12, participants will learn about WIC vouchers, FoodLink and other marketing methods.

This three night program will take place from 6:30-8:30 PM at the Putnam County Extension Office. The cost of the program is $15 (includes all 3 nights). Those interested in participating need to register and pay the fee online at http://www.cvent.com/d/zbqcmj by January 4. For more information or for reasonable accommodations to participate, please contact Jenna Nees atsmith535@purdue.edu or 765-653-8411.

Visit our homepage at www.extension.purdue.edu/putnam or you can contact the local Purdue Extension Office by calling 765.653.8411 for more information regarding this week’s column topic or to RSVP for upcoming events. It is always best to call first to assure items are ready when you arrive and to RSVP for programs. While many publications are free, some do have a fee. Purdue University is an equal access/equal opportunity institution. All times listed are Eastern Time.

Upcoming Events:

December 4 – Bi-State Crop Management Conference, 9 AM, Cost $20 (plus $10 for PARP credit), Beef House in Covington, Register by Nov. 27 at
http://www.go.illinois.edu/BiState

January 8 – Cultivating Your Farmers Market Knowledge – Night 1, 6:30-8:30 PM, Cost $15, register online at http://www.cvent.com/d/zbqcmj

February 12 – Cultivating Your Farmers Market Knowledge – Night 2, 6:30-8:30 PM, Cost $15, register online at http://www.cvent.com/d/zbqcmj

March 12 – Cultivating Your Farmers Market Knowledge – Night 3, 6:30-8:30 PM, Cost $15, register online at http://www.cvent.com/d/zbqcmj