Convention 2018 Overview

Join us at the Augusta Civic Center! Thursday, January 11, 2018

Shopping local in a global world: policies, trends, and resources that will impact Maine farmers’ markets.


10th Annual Convention!

Take a day off from the barn, hoop house, field or kitchen to get inspired! 

Network with friends and neighbors, learn about business-strengthening innovations and connect with industry leaders at this dynamic, full-day event. Features include a keynote by food systems expert Philip Ackerman-Leist, author of Rebuilding the Foodshed; workshops and break-out sessions tailored to the needs of market farmers; tracks for beginners and experienced farmers’ market participants alike; DACF scale testing; a help desk for those interested in accepting SNAP; and an exhibit hall packed with resources. The registration fee (which costs $30-38 for people who are members or managers of a farmers’ market, and $40-48 for others) for this jam-packed day includes a continental breakfast, coffee all day, and a hot buffet lunch (including vegetarian and gluten-free options).  Don’t miss this rare opportunity to gather with over 130 farmers’ market participants from all over the state, all in one place.  

Online registration closed January 2nd. If you intended to register but missed the deadline, email [email protected] or call 487-7114.


Keynote: “Hacking the Local Foodshed: Why Farmers’ Markets Matter More Than Ever”
Farmers’ markets are more than places where farmers and food entrepreneurs simply hone their competitive edges. They are also our society’s best representations of “food democracy” and “living economies.” As we hack our way toward local foodsheds that are more profitable, equitable, nimble, and resilient, it is imperative that we capitalize upon the anchor role that farmers’ markets play in linking economic value to democratic values. We’ll explore how farmers markets can advance bold moves on a local level.
Keynote speaker, Philip Ackerman-Leist is Professor of Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems at Green Mountain College, where he established the college’s organic farm, sustainable agriculture curricula, and the first online graduate program in Sustainable Food Systems in the United States.  He and his wife Erin live on a remote off-grid farm in Pawlet, Vermont with their three children, where they raise grassfed American Milking Devon cattle. His newest book is A Precautionary Tale: How One Small Town Banned Pesticides, Preserved its Food Heritage, and Inspired a Movement, published by Chelsea Green (November 2017). He is also the author of Rebuilding the Foodshed: How to Create Local, Sustainable, and Secure Food Systems and Up Tunket Road: The Education of a Modern Homesteader.


Workshops, roundtables, and panel discussions: As usual, we’ll be offering a packed schedule, with at least topics to choose from during each session. (See the full agenda here: Maine Farmers’ Market Convention 2018 Schedule) Topics will include:

  • Keynote – Keeping “Local” Competitive in the Global Market: Policies, Trends, and Resources that Will Impact Maine Farmers’ Markets
  • A Holistic Approach to Branding Your Farmers’ Market.
  • Planning Events that Attract Families, Energy and Attention to the Market
  • Law and Order: Farmers’ Market Unit – A Walk Through the Legal Issues That May Impact Your Market
  • New Apps and Digital Tools for Market Management and Direct Marketing
  • Fundraising, Friendraising, and Finding Sponsors in Your Community and Beyond
  • Keeping Our Farmers’ Markets Strong: Consumer Confidence
  • Lowering Barriers to Market Farming with No-till Techniques
  • Local Food Pricing: Historical, Regional, and Market Based Differences Through the Lens of Organic
  • Is Everyone Welcome at Your Market? Strategies for Making the Market More Navigable for All
  • Feeding More Mainers Through FINI and Beyond: A SNAP Roundtable Discussion-
  • Getting Started with Maine Harvest Bucks: An Overview for 1st Year and Prospective Markets.
  • State and National Legislative Update
  • Use Smart Social Media Storytelling to Gain Followers and Keep Them Coming Back
  • Finding Your Way – Discussion for Vendors New to Markets
  • Roundtable Discussion: Highs and Lows of the 2017 Market Season
  • Setting Up a Market Stand That Consumers Can’t Resist

Other features of the convention:

  • Services
    1. USDA Food & Nutrition Service Drop-In  – Interested in signing up to accept SNAP? There will be a help desk available all day, and Debbie Crosby from the USDA will be able to sign up new vendors on site.  
    2. DACF Scales Testing & Certification – Drop your scales off in the morning, pick them up in the afternoon, and check off one chore for the year!
    3. WIC Farmer Authorization Training
  • This year’s schedule means attendees can plan to attend the Maine Agricultural Trades Show on Wednesday, then stay overnight in Augusta, and attend the Maine Farmers’ Market Convention!
  • Pick up free “Farmers’ Market Today!”, “EBT Accepted” and “WIC Accepted Here” signs.
  • Find out about new tools, apps, groups, and resources in the farmers’ market exhibit area.

The deadline to register online was January 2.

If you intended to register but missed the deadline, email [email protected] or call 487-7114.