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Virtual Workshops set to Assist Farmer’s Market Vendors

Donna Krug, K-State Extension
Donna Krug

With snow and ice still covering the ground it’s hard to believe that vegetable gardeners are beginning to plan for another growing season.

We have hosted successful farmer’s market vendor workshops in the past in the Cottonwood Extension District. This year the Kansas Department of Agriculture and K-State Research and Extension will go virtual with these workshops. Mark your calendars for February 16–19 and register for these learning opportunities designed to assist farmers’ market vendors and managers, and also for those wanting to sell food products directly to consumers. The workshop series includes three on-line Lunch and Learn sessions, followed by a half-day virtual workshop.

“Over the past year, we’ve seen an increase in people’s enthusiasm for locally sourced food, and these workshops will address common questions and concerns for farmers and small businesses who are embracing these opportunities to reach local consumers,” said Londa Nwadike, food safety specialist with K-State Research and Extension (KSRE) and the University of Missouri. “It’s also important for farmers to understand certain legal, safety and financial parameters before choosing to sell either directly to the consumer or at a farmers’ market.” In 2020, 76 farmers’ markets were registered with KDA’s Central Registration of Farmers’ Markets.

Dates and topics for each Lunch and Learn online session are as follows:

Tuesday, February 16, 2021, noon to 1 p.m.: Food Safety for Value-Added Food Products

Wednesday, February 17, 2021, noon to 1 p.m.: Meat and Poultry Regulations

Thursday, February 18, 2021, noon to 1 p.m.: Taxation and Accepting EBT/SNAP

The half-day virtual workshop on Friday, February 19, 2021, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. will cover topics such as COVID-19 related changes, Double Up Food Bucks program, Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program, From the Land of Kansas program, and resources available from KSRE. Keynote speaker Michael Kilpatrick of the Thriving Farmer podcast will also discuss marketing tips for direct-to-consumer sales.

KDA’s weights and measures program will offer free scale certification with a paid registration to an online workshop. A date for this scale certification will be announced soon at our Hays office, 601 Main.

Registration for the February virtual workshops is now open. The cost is $5 per participant. Register at FromtheLandofKansas.com/FMworkshop.

For more information, contact Robin Blume, KDA’s education and events coordinator, at 785-564-6756 or Robin.Blume@ks.gov. The workshops are funded by the Kansas Center for Sustainable Agriculture and Alternative Crops, the Kansas Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program, and the Kansas Department of Agriculture.

KDA is committed to providing an environment that enhances and encourages economic growth of the agriculture industry and the Kansas economy. Kansas farmers’ markets not only provide a fresh food source, but also stimulate the local economy. The Kansas Ag Growth Strategy has identified training for small companies via workshops as a key growth outcome for the specialty crop sector. The farmers’ market/direct-to-consumer workshops will provide education through partnerships to help make Kansas farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses more successful.

Donna Krug is the District Director and Family & Consumer Science Agent in the Cottonwood Extension District. You may reach her at: (620)793-1910 or dkrug@ksu.edu