Farmers interested in reaching new local food markets but who are unable to attend a daylong workshop can get the same information through an online series.
Roy Ballard, Hancock County Extension educator, said the program, MarketReady Indiana - Scaling up Your Production and Marketing of Farm Products, is designed to help food suppliers succeed and stay profitable in a changing marketplace.
"This program will offer some basic insight into what buyers for wholesale, institutions, grocery stores and restaurants will demand," Ballard said. "These are very different requirements than traditional direct-market consumers might have."
Ballard said "scaling up" is a term used to describe tools and techniques needed to grow farm businesses so they can reach new markets with increased capacity.
Participants will learn from experts about expectations of food services, modern food marketing practices, how to produce foods for sale in alternative markets and how to access resources to improve sales.
The Web-based workshop series will be offered on Mondays, March 11, 18 and 25. Purdue Extension offices across Indiana will host the sessions. All sessions are 5:30-8 p.m. Central time (6:30-9 p.m. Eastern time).
Participants can view the sessions at a host location and network with other farm operators, or they can access the sessions from a remote location with a URL provided by the local Extension host.
Host locations and contacts in northern Indiana are:
• LaPorte County, 2857 W. State Road 2, Suite A, LaPorte. Contact: Mary Foell, 219-324-9407.
• Kosciusko County, 202 W. Main St., Warsaw. Contact: Kelly Heckaman, 574-372-2340.
Host locations and contacts in other parts of the state are:
• Hancock County, 802 N Apple St., Greenfield. Contact: Roy Ballard, 317-462-1113.
• Jefferson County, 315 Jefferson St., Madison. Contact: Lonnie Mason, 812-265-8919.
• Switzerland County, 708 W Seminary St., Vevay. Contact: Kyle Weaver, 812-427-3152.
• Vanderburgh County, 13301 Darmstadt Road, Evansville. Contact: Larry Caplan, 812-435-5287.
• Vermillion County, 225 S Main St., Newport. Contact: Phil Cox, 765-492-5335.
The program registration fee is $30 per person for all three sessions, or $30 for the first person and $15 for each additional person from the same farm. Checks should be made payable to "Purdue CES Ed Fund."
To register, contact your local Extension office or the closest host site. Registration is preferred by March 4. Questions about the program should be directed to Roy Ballard at 317-462-1113 or Mary Foell at 219-324-9407.