The Michigan Farmers Markets Association (MIFMA) is hosting the Michigan Farmers Market Conference on Tuesday and Wednesday, March 8 and 9, 2016 at the Plant and Soil Sciences Building on the campus of Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan. The 2016 conference is structured to meet the needs of farmers markets in Michigan and provide education and resources for market managers and the farmers and vendors who sell at markets. This year’s event expects to bring together over 200 individuals.
Three educational tracks will be offered at the conference, the sessions will build upon the information attendees found helpful from last year’s conference and provide up-to-date information on timely topics related to farmers market management and direct marketing.
1) Market Manager Boot Camp Track – designed for beginning market managers.
Sessions Include: Attracting, Managing, Engaging and Rewarding Volunteers; Crisis Management and Public Relations; Grant Management: Basic Financial Management and Best Practices for Internal Controls; Marketing & Media Workshop; and Food Safety Regulations and Licensing.
2) Advanced Market Manager Track – for market managers who are looking for specialized information.
Sessions Include: Working with Elected Officials Panel; Introduction to Racial Equity in the Food System; Best Practices for Implementing a Prescription for Health Program at Your Farmers Market; Measuring Economic Impact of Your Farmers Market; and Crowdfunding 101.
3) Farmer and Vendor Track – designed for farmers who sell at farmers markets.
Sessions Include: Keeping it Local: Sourcing and Procurement for Value-added Products; Successful Farm Internships; and Markets in Bloom: Flower Farming; Succession Planning for the Farm Business; Wild Mushroom Foraging and Certification.
Michigan Farmers Market Social:
The Michigan Farmers Market Association will host the Michigan Farmers Market Social at the Allen Market Place on Tues. March 8 from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. for conference attendees. This casual networking event will feature live jazz music, a cash bar with beer provided by Sleepwalker Spirits & Ale, and a selection of food items from local food companies. The cost is an additional $20 to your conference registration and is part of the registration process – Register Now.
SNAP Training and On-site Authorization:
By accepting Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, a farmers market can increase healthy food access in their community while drawing more customers to the market and increasing vendor sales. If your farmers market is interested in accepting SNAP benefits, distributed via the Michigan EBT Bridge Card, during the 2016 market season – this training is for you! MIFMA will provide step-by-step instructions for completing the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) online application for authorization to accept SNAP benefits and USDA FNS staff will be on-site to approve market applications. If you are not able to join for us for the full conference, you are still eligible to attend just the SNAP training. All interested individuals, who are not attending the conference, should call the MIFMA office to register, 517-432-3381.
Members of MIFMA and partnering organizations can register for the full conference for $100 or for one day for $75. MIFMA student members receive the discounted rate of $75 for the full conference or $35 for one day. Registration for the conference will close at 8 a.m. on Monday, February 29, 2016.