Erin Buckwalter, the NOFA Vermont Market Development Director, describes it this way:
"The Vermont Farmers Market Conference is a great opportunity for market leaders to come together to share resources, exchange information, and build a community of support."
Indeed, this year's conference, which was held at the Vermont Law School in South Royalton on Thursday, March 24th, welcomed 31 different markets represented by 42 different farmers' market leaders: managers, board members, and vendors.
"A wide diversity of market leaders attended, from long-time market managers and board members to those brand new to the job," said Erin. "This conference aims to provide something for everyone to build the capacity and professionalism of their farmers market."
The conference provided an array of learning and networking opportunities, from four small break-out sessions with market leaders sharing challenges and successes to seven in-depth workshops, one-on-one support for different farmers market issues, and Q&A sessions with staff from the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets and the Vermont Department of Health.
Several new board members were elected to the Vermont Farmers Market Association (VTFMA) during the annual meeting: Tod Whitaker (Shelburne FM), Rachel Bigelow (Royalton FM), Deb Nevil (Jeffersonville FM), Dan McLaughlin (Fairfax FM), Ben Pomykala (Champlain Islands FM), Maura O'Neill (Winooski FM), and Krysta Piccoli (Manchester FM). They join Diane Heleba (Rutland County FM), Carol Stedman (Hartland FM), Kelly King (Jericho FM), Chris Wagner (Burlington FM), Charlotte Roozekrans (Waitsfield FM), and two outgoing board members, Sherry Maher (Brattleboro Winter FM) and Brooke Decker (West River FM).