TROY, N.Y. — Farm to Institution New York State (FINYS) is partnering with area organizations to bring their Market Readiness Workshop to the Capital Region. The workshop tailors MarketReady information to farmers, enabling those participating to begin selling directly to institutions or to the wholesale outlets that cater to schools, colleges, daycare centers and hospitals. Lunch featuring locally sourced foods is provided, and an afternoon mixer with complimentary appetizers is included. Pre-registration is required with a workshop fee of $20 and can be made by calling 518-885-8995 or emailing Ellie Hackett at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who: Workshop Funding Partners – American Farmland Trust/FINYS and Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (NESARE). Farmer-Buyer Mixer Funding Partners – FINYS/MarketReady and Baskets to Pallets Project. Planning and Implementation Partners – Capital District Child Care Council; SUNY Adirondack; Cornell University Cooperative Extension Saratoga; Cornell University Cooperative Extension Schoharie & Otsego Counties – Schoharie Valley Farm to School Project; Agricultural Stewardship Association; and Capital Roots.
Where: Workshop and touring – Capital Roots Urban Grow Center, 594 River Street, Troy NY; Institutional kitchen tour – Commission on Economic Development, Troy NY; Farmer-Buyer Mixer – Revolution Hall, 425 River Street Troy NY.
When: Monday, March 6, 2017 – Workshop and Tours from 10 a.m. – 2:45 p.m.; Free Mixer from 3 – 6 p.m.
Why: This educational opportunity was developed as one of several FINYS strategies designed to help address the systemic challenges of scaling up the purchasing of local foods by local institutions. Larger farmers, that already have a history of selling to wholesale outlets servicing grocery stores and restaurants, may find the new information presented to act upon. Those with smaller farms, wanting to begin a transition from the farm stand to the wholesale market, should find it easier to step up to institutions with the information conveyed through these workshops. Owners of many of the smaller farms may be hesitant or unprepared to meet the transactional requirements of institutional buyers, missing out on the billions of dollars spent by institutions on food procurement. The MarketReady training program of March 6thaddresses issues of food safety, insurance, product quality, relationship building, and risk management. It is designed with tours of institutional buyers and a farmer-buyer mixer that gives farmers, of varying levels of prior wholesaling experience, an introduction to best supplier practices. The mixer is a new feature which is planned to provide a seldom held opportunity for farmers to speak directly to numerous wholesale buyers, beginning a relationship with them in a stress-free, casual environment. With ever increasing climate change concerns, sustaining the small farmers of the Capital Region by opening markets that they can scale up to is viewed as a way to continue their economic viability. It also allows for maintaining small area farms as a rich source of local foods for the Upstate New York food supply system and keeps green open spaces available for the next generation to enjoy. Farmers of the capital region and surrounding counties are invited.
—Cornell Cooperative Extension
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