LSU AgCenter receives grant for farmers market conference

Richard Bogren, Motsenbocker, Carl E.

News Release Distributed 11/29/10

The LSU AgCenter recently received a grant of $21,350 to support a one-day conference for farmers markets in Louisiana.

The grant, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farmers Market Promotion Program, will enhance and broaden the skills and information network of market managers and key vendors at Louisiana farmers markets, said Carl Motsenbocker, an LSU AgCenter horticulture professor.

Louisiana has more than 30 farmers markets scattered across the state, he said. As of mid-2010, more than 6,100 farmers markets were operating throughout the United States compared with about 2,900 farmers markets functioning in 2000 according to the USDA listing of farmers markets.

“The 2010 data represent a 16 percent increase from 2009 and indicate the rapid growth of farmers markets in the United States, including Louisiana,” Motsenbocker said.

The conference will include hands-on educational workshops and seminars, Motsenbocker said. Speakers and discussion leaders will be local farmers market managers, regionally or nationally recognized experts with extensive farmers market experience and at least one vendor.

“In addition, we’ll begin an assessment of existing Louisiana farmers markets in specific issue areas,” he said.

The workshop will be planned by a committee of six Louisiana farmers market managers, Motsenbocker said. “We’ll bring farmers market managers together to talk about what they do and learn from model market managers and outside experts.”

He said he expects the program to encourage farmers market participants to join MarketMaker, an Internet-based system that locates businesses and markets of agricultural products and provides links between producers and consumers.

Motsenbocker, who is working with LSU AgCenter economist Roger Hinson and Farmers Market Coalition consultant Stacy Miller to manage the project, said they anticipate the conference will be held later this winter.

“We’re looking for synergy,” Motsenbocker said. “We hope the conference may become an annual event.”

Rick Bogren

1/4/2011 1:10:51 AM
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