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The Michigan Farmers Markets Association (MIFMA) is hosting its annual Michigan Farmers Market Conference – “Celebrating Farmers Market Milestones”, on Tuesday and Wednesday, March 7 and 8, 2017 at the Plant and Soil Sciences Building on the campus of Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan.
This year’s event expects to bring together more than 200 individuals to celebrate MIFMA’s 10th anniversary and the many milestones that the Michigan farmers market community reached over the last 10 years. The 2017 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.
Three educational tracks will be offered at the conference, building upon information attendees found helpful from last year’s conference and providing up-to-date information on timely topics related to farmers market management and direct marketing.
1) Beginning Market Manager Track – designed for beginning market managers. Sessions Include: Starting a Farmers Market in Michigan; Recruiting and Retaining Farmers and Vendors; Getting Paid What Your Worth: Results of MIFMA’s Market Manager Compensation Study; Food Safety at Farmers Markets: MDARD Licensing and Regulations; Farmers Market Advocacy: Building Support for What’s Important to You.
2) Advanced Market Manager Track – for market managers who are looking for specialized information. Sessions Include: Preparing and Presenting an Annual Market Report; Dollars and Sense: Basic Financial Recordkeeping; Building Racial and Ethnic Diversity in Farmers Markets; Engaging Youth in the Future of Farmers Markets; Food Safety at Farmers Markets: Strategies for Conducting Cooking Demos and Food Samples.
3) Farmer and Vendor Track – designed for farmers and vendors who sell at farmers markets. Sessions Include: Peppers, Cucumbers, Basil and More: Summer Hoophouse Crop Options that Aren’t Tomatoes; Tour of the Michigan State University Meat Lab; Food Safety at Farmers Markets: Cottage Food Labeling Workshop; Marketing Your Small Farm; Food Trucks, Inside and Out.
MIFMA will host a Conference Social on Tuesday, March 7 from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., following the first day of the conference, in the Conservatory of the Plant & Soil Sciences Building. This casual networking event will feature live music, refreshments, and a selection of food items from local food companies. Tickets for the Social are $25 per person and can be purchased during conference registration or by contacting the MIFMA office at 517-432-3381.
SNAP Training and On-site Authorization:
By accepting Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, farmers markets can increase healthy food access in their communities while drawing more customers to the market and increasing vendor sales. Farmers market interested in accepting SNAP benefits during the 2017 market season, distributed via the Michigan EBT Bridge Card, can meet one-on-one with USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) representatives who will be on-site to answer questions, as well as to review and approve market applications. Those not able to attend the full conference can still make an appointment by calling the MIFMA office to register at 517-432-3381.
MIFMA members receive a 50% discount on the full-day conference registration as part of their membership benefits and pay $100 for the full conference or $75 for one day only (or $75 for the full conference and $35 for one day only for MIFMA student members). Non-members will pay $200 for the full conference or $100 for one day only. Registration for the conference will close at 9:00 a.m. on February 27, 2017.
For more information on the Michigan Farmers Market Conference, visit www.mifma.org/conference or call 517-432-3381.
Communications and Events Manager
Michigan Farmers Market Association
480 Wilson Road, Room 172
East Lansing, MI 48824