Thursday, January 31, 2013

How many market managers does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

Who knows? We didn't try!

But we did all converge upon Vancouver, Washington last weekend for an action-packed farmers market conference organized by the Washington State Farmers Market Association (WSFMA). With 42 hours of conference, 44 workshops, 24 topic tables, and 4 keynote speakers, our brains and notebooks are overflowing with market training.

Perhaps you didn't realize that market management had much to it--sit in the sun, set up some tents, that's about it, right? Not so!

Here's a quick run-down of the topics we studied and discussed:

  • liability exposures and controls
  • community partnerships
  • marketing to SNAP shoppers
  • advocacy to improve market regulations
  • recruiting and managing volunteers
  • working with local governments
  • successful fundraisers
  • 77 simple strategies for market promotion
  • food benefits 101
  • the new farmers market in a diverse and multicultural society
  • risk assessment and food regulations
  • social media
  • finding your farmers' market customer

And oh yes, more!

Seattle City Council Member Richard Conlin discussing
citywide food policy, who received a standing ovation
We have lots of goals for 2013, and many of them were well informed by our conference attendance. But maybe the best outcome of going to the conference was meeting so many other market managers. Passionate volunteer managers who run their markets mostly on caffeine and good-will. Professional managers of large urban markets whose merits and accomplishments we tip our hats to. Most of all, friendly managers who are willing to extend guidance and support to our little market as we grow and become an established resource for the community. 

Naturally, the food was good too--locally sourced, freshly prepared. (They might have had a riot from our crowd if it wasn't!) And of course, it's exciting to see so many kale lovers in one place.

We have to give another thank you to Debora Nelson, city councilwoman and owner of Photographic Journeys, for her spectacular sponsorship of our volunteer managers, Audrey and Samantha, to attend the conference. Thank you Debora!

1 comment:

  1. Great post! Would love to have time to do these exciting things!! You guys are awesome for doing such hard work!!