FAIRFIELD, Maine — The 9th annual Maine Farmers’ Market Convention will take place Sunday, January 29th at the Alfond Campus of Kennebec Valley Community College. Market vendors, managers, and volunteers from across the state will convene for the conference, the theme of which is “Taking the Lead.” Participants will choose from a dozen sessions throughout the day, focusing on how to cultivate collaborative markets and how to strategize for growth. The convention is hosted by the Maine Federation of Farmers’ Markets (MFFM), and is the primary opportunity for people interested in Maine’s markets to come together for inspiration, guidance, and networking opportunities.
The keynote address at the convention, entitled, “Resurgent Farmers’ Markets: Impacts Around the US and Prospects for Maine,” will be delivered by Dr. Alfonso Morales (Professor of Urban and Regional Planning, and director of the Metrics + Indicators for Impact project, University of Wisconsin-Madison). Dr. Morales will discuss contemporary trends for farmers’ markets and how Maine markets might respond to some of these trends. The talk will be based on his nationally and internationally recognized research on street vendors and marketplaces, as well as his recent work in support of MFFM’s data collection efforts in Maine.
There will be twelve sessions taking place throughout the day, covering topics such as market design, food safety, specialty food trends, applying for federal grants, youth and family programming, partnering with municipalities, SNAP outreach, and marketing techniques. Additionally, this year an inspector from the Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry will be on hand to inspect scales all day ($5 per scale). Farmers and others wishing to apply to accept SNAP benefits or update their license with the USDA may do so on site. There will also be a WIC farmer authorization class offered.
Registration to the convention closes January 26th (cost is $65-75). Scholarships are available to participants from Washington and Aroostook counties. For more information or to register, call (207) 487-7114 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Online registration is also available at mainefarmersmarkets.org.
—Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry
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