Maine Farmers’ Market Convention 2015

Maple Hill Farm Inn in Hallowell, Sunday, January 25, 2015

Thanks to the work of volunteers, notes are available for the following sessions:

Pricing Pressure: Staying Profitable in a Competitive World

Developing Your Farm’s Market Brand

Building & Managing Community Partnerships

Cooperating to Build a Market T. E. A. M

Low Income Outreach at Your Market

How Much is Enough? Strategically Managing Your Presence at Multiple Markets

Also see the Farmers’ Market Reference Guide provided by Ronda Stone for the “Keeping Things Legal” Session.

(For more info about the speakers and their bios, visit Convention Speakers.)

The Workshops


Pricing Pressure: Staying Profitable in a Competitive World: Pricing is a “blend of art and science.” What pricing structure will turn a profit for your farm and suit your customer base? Understand what profit is (both the practical and philosophical aspects). Learn how to calculate your cost of production, and glean tips on pricing, educating your customers, and record keeping. Panelists: Jim McConnon (Professor of Economics, University of Maine Cooperative Extension), Carolyn Snell (Snell Family Farm), & Ryan Parker (Parker Family Farm and Eat Real BDN blogger). Moderator: Ann Mefferd (One Drop Farm).

What’s Happening at Your Market? 2014 Successes and Challenges: This is YOUR session. You set the agenda. Come prepared to share with your peers your biggest successes and challenges of the 2014 market season. Come engage in this opportunity to get to know the market community a little better and to learn about what is and what’s not working at Maine’s farmers markets. Moderator: Mike Gold (Maine Farmland Trust).

Low Income Outreach at Your Market: Are shoppers utilizing your carefully-planned programs? Is your EBT machine getting enough swipes? Get some ideas about marketing and outreach to low-income customers, learn about resources in Maine, and explore potential avenues for collaboration between organizations and agencies. Panelists: Tina Bernier (WIC Nutrition Program), Colleen Fuller (Access Health), Jaime Berhanu (Lalibela Farm), and DHHS representative. Moderator: Kate Sheridan (Food AND Medicine).

Keeping Things Legal (with extended Q & A): Learn more about what permits are necessary to sell which products, and get tips on working with inspectors. Presenter: Ronda Stone (Consumer Protection Inspector, Maine DACF), Jason Bolton (UM Assistant Extension Professor and Food Safety Specialist). Moderator: Linda Titus (Ag Matters produce safety advisor).

Cooperating to Build a Market T. E. A. M. where Together Everyone Achieves More: While too many cooks spoil the broth, many hands make light work. So how to achieve a balance that makes your market and its sales ZING? Together we’ll take a fresh look at cooperation—or lack thereof—in your market and come up with strategies to harness your T. E. A. M. power. Panelists: Dr. Lynda Brushett, Ph.D. (Cooperative Development Institute), Hanne Tierney (Cornerstone Farm), Mike Bahner (Bahner Farm) Moderator: Heather Donahue (Balfour Farm).

Building & Managing Community Partnerships: What to look for in a community partner, tips for building the volunteer base and community engagement, plus some cautionary tales from market vendors and their community partners. Panelists: Joannah Tindorgan (Food AND Medicine), Brittany Hopkins (Wise Acres Farm), Jane Torres (Greater Houlton Chamber of Commerce), Rob Lawless (Took A Leap Farm).

Develop Your Farm’s Market Brand: Learn how to effectively use Facebook, newsletters, Instagram, etc. to promote your farm’s market presence, develop a “brand,” build customer loyalty, and increase sales. Panelists: Sara Trunzo (Director, Veggies For All), Gene & Mary Margaret Ripley (Ripley Farm). Moderator: Jan Goranson (Goranson Farm).

Organize and Promote Your Market Using Free e-Tools: Learn about free tools to help with market promotion, communication among market members and with market shoppers, and market analysis. Topics include using websites, email newsletters, Google docs, DropBox, Square,, and Doodle to organize and promote your farmers’ market. Communicating with cohorts and magnifying word-of-mouth promotion with social media – explained in a way that even a 60 year old can understand! Panelists: Tom Roberts (Snakeroot Organic Farm) & Jack McAdam (McDougal Orchards). Moderator: Hanne Tierney (Cornerstone Farm). See the Free eTools presentation from this workshop, the Free eToolls handout, or the Free Conference Calls handout.

How Much is Enough? Strategically Managing Your Presence at Multiple Markets: When is adding another market to your roster a good decision? Issues such as distance, capacity, and market size complicate the decision. Hear some strategies for maximizing efficiency, developing staff, and avoiding burnout. Panelists: Donna Mionis (Donna’s Daily Bread) & John Barnstein (Maine-ly Poultry). Moderator: Heather Omand (MOFGA).

Risk Management at the Market: Bring your questions to this panel discussion for an opportunity to ask professionals your questions about liability, what insurances your market does and doesn’t need, and other aspects of risk at farmers’ markets. Panelists: Teresa Cloutier (Lambert Coffin, Attorneys at Law), Greg Warren (Farm Family Insurance Co.).

Market Manager Round Table: Please join us to review the 2014 season look ahead to 2015. This is an opportunity for market managers to strategize, commiserate, and share resources and ideas. Moderator: Sara Trunzo (Director, Veggies For All).

Build Your Customer Base and Connect with Shoppers: Selling outdoors in a public space presents a unique set of challenges compared to the typical retail environment. Learn tips on streamlining your setup, maximizing your display, and welcoming customers (including the difficult ones) to your stall. Panelists: Heather Omand (MOFGA), Mark Guzzi (Peacemeal Farm). Moderator: Clayton Carter (Fail Better Farm).