Oklahoma Farmers Market and Agritourism Conference and Expo Scheduled for February 23, 2017Mon, 06 Feb 2017 14:55:13 CST
If you are a market vendor, farmers market manager, work in agritourism, belong to community support organizations or simply would like more information, make plans to attend the 3rd Annual Oklahoma Farmers Market and Agritourism Conference and Expo.
Slated Feb. 23 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., the conference will take place at the Embassy Suites, 741 N. Phillips Ave., Oklahoma City. Check-in begins at 8:30 a.m.
There is no cost to attend the conference, however, attendees are asked to register by Feb. 20. Those interested may register here or call Meredith Scott at 405-271-2091.
Dave Shideler, associate professor in Oklahoma State University’s Department of Agricultural Economics, said the focus of the conference is increasing the presence of local food in Oklahoma communities.
“Farmers markets are becoming more and more popular in communities across the state. Conferences like this provide technical assistance and training to those involved in this industry to makes their farms and farmers markets more viable and become places people want to be,” Shideler said. “In addition, this conference will provide a place in which growers, managers and community leaders can network with one another, share ideas, talk about common issues and encourage one another in their endeavors.”
Jen Cheek, National Farmers Market Coalition executive director, will serve as keynote speaker for the event. She will share her expertise on how the farmers market movement in Oklahoma compares with movements in other states.
“Jen is a great motivational speaker and she’ll encourage everyone to work toward growing and developing the farmers market here in our state so we can enjoy the experiences, variety of fresh foods and community that other states are experiencing,” he said.
During the conference, there will be 16 breakout sessions, all led by experienced vendors or market managers and/or topical experts, from which participants can choose four to attend. Topics cover a wide range of interest areas, including social media marketing, accepting SNAP and senior benefits, community engagement, starting a farmers market, table displays, sourcing to local distributors, niche fruit and nut farming, hosting cooking demonstrations, becoming a Chickasaw Nation certified market and more.
In addition to the conference, there is a pre-conference Grant Writing Workshop slated Feb. 22 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. This event is offered at no charge; however, it is limited to the first 50 registrants. A post-conference Agritourism Rolling Workshop will take place Feb. 24 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and it also is limited to the first 50 registrants. This workshop is free for OK Agritourism members and $25 for nonmembers. Both of these events also will take place at the Embassy Suits in downtown Oklahoma City.
“This conference is chocked full of great information and I encourage everyone with an interest in farmers markets to attend. We want participants to go home with several good ideas they can begin implementing quickly on their farm or at the market,” Shideler said.
Source - Oklahoma State University
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