Increased demand for local foods has spurred an increase in the number of farmers directly marketing products to consumers.

The boom also has restaurants and retailers interested in purchasing from local farmers and farmers are certainly interested in marketing their products locally.

“Unfortunately, making the connection and developing a lasting relationship between farmers and buyers is challenging,” says Megan Bruch, marketing specialist with the University of Tennessee Center for Profitable Agriculture. “Farmers are often unaware of restaurant and retail buying practices and are unprepared to tap this market channel.”

Tim Woods, professor at the University of Kentucky, and his UK Cooperative Extension Service colleagues, have developed an educational program to help give farmers the information and tools needed to build marketing relationships with restaurants and retailers like grocery stores. Called “MarketReady,” the program covers topics such as communication, pricing, delivery, invoicing and labeling.

The UT Center for Profitable Agriculture has teamed up with Woods to offer the MarketReady workshop to Tennessee farmers. The workshop will be held Oct. 7, 2010, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in Knoxville. Space is limited, and pre-registration is required by Sept. 27. Registration is $25 per person and includes training materials and lunch.

Contact the Center for Profitable Agriculture at 931-486-2777 or visit the center’s Web site, http://cpa.utk.edu, for more information or to register.  

The workshop is coordinated by the Center for Profitable Agriculture and funded, in part, by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture. The Center for Profitable Agriculture is a partnership of UT Extension and the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation.