Training opportunities will be designed specifically for farmers market vendors


SPRING HILL, Tenn. – For many producers, selling their produce and farm-based products at local farmers markets is, pardon the pun, their bread and butter.
 
To help vendors better understand how to market their produce and how to address certain business issues, the University of Tennessee Center for Profitable Agriculture and the Tennessee Department of Agriculture are offering farmers market “boot camps” in February and March 2013. 
 
Many of the sessions are designed to help vendors understand marketing techniques that can help make their booths more profitable.  For example, the boot camps will include presentations and discussions on effective signage, understanding and connecting with customers and the subtle messaging involved through word and wardrobe choices.
 
On the business management side, additional discussions will center on understanding sales tax requirements and exemptions, expanding sales through market-wide electronic payments and insurance applications and limitations. Workshops will also feature time for attendees to interact with other market vendors and with scheduled speakers.  
 
Organizers of the boot camps emphasize that the sessions will focus on issues for farmers market vendors. Production-related sessions are not planned for these training opportunities. Educational sessions for producers, farmers market managers and board members are available as part of the Tennessee Horticultural Expo. For details about the expo, see the website http://www.tnthe.com
 
The day-long sessions are free to attend and sessions are scheduled in each of the state’s grand divisions. The entire program will be repeated in each location, so there is no need to attend multiple workshops. Boot camps are scheduled for the following locations and dates:
 
Bolivar, February 11                 
Dresden, February 12              
Cookeville, February 18
Spring Hill, February 19                       
Knoxville, March 4           
Kingsport, March 5
 
The workshops will begin with registration at 9 a.m. local time and teaching sessions will begin promptly at 9:30. The workshops will conclude around 2:30 p.m.  Complete details can be found online at the Center for Profitable Agriculture website: https://ag.tennessee.edu/cpa/
 
Note that pre-registration is required at least five days prior to the workshop. Please pre-register by contacting Nancy Austin in the UT Food Science and Technology Department at naustin@utk.edu or 865-974-7717.  When registering, please provide your: (1) name, (2) phone number and (3) e-mail address.  Due to space limitations, registration is limited to 50 participants at the Kingsport location. 
 
The farmers market boot camp curriculum is a collaboration of the UT Center for Profitable Agriculture and the Tennessee Department of Agriculture. The Center for Profitable Agriculture is a joint effort of UT Extension and the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation.

UT Extension provides a gateway to the University of Tennessee as the outreach unit of the Institute of Agriculture. With an office in every Tennessee county, UT Extension delivers educational programs and research-based information to citizens throughout the state. In cooperation with Tennessee State University, UT Extension works with farmers, families, youth and communities to improve lives by addressing problems and issues at the local, state and national levels.

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Contacts: 
 
Rob Holland or Hal Pepper, Center for Profitable Agriculture, 931-486-2777, rwholland@utk.edu  or hal.pepper@utk.edu