Speaking of Being Direct…

Customer shopping for tomatoes at a farmers' market.

Increase your market sales with the NOFA-VT Direct Marketing Conference.

On Sunday January 12th, 2014, NOFA-VT will hold the 9th Annual Direct Marketing Conference at the Vermont Law School in South Royalton. NOFA-VT is excited to announce that this year we plan to continue the TEDTalks format that replaced the traditional keynote speaker at the 2013 Direct Marketing Conference. The TEDTalks format has gained in popularity over the past few years because the the short format - limited to 18 minutes, often less - places a demand on speakers to think critically about how and what they say during their presentations. It is no longer enough to simply have a set of slides prepared on Powerpoint the night before. The audience now expects more and demands to be engaged. The speaker must prove to the audience that the topic they present is not just an idea, but a movement forward – a form of advancement. It is not easy to inspire new thoughts or to change the perspective of listeners in less time than it takes the average person to get to work in the morning, but a great TEDTalk has the ability to motivate this mental shift, and move an idea beyond the comfort of padded auditorium seats.

This year, we have three speakers who have been challenged to inspire with what we're calling "FarmsTED" talks: Richard Berkfield of Food Connects, Mari Omland of Green Mountain Girls Farm, and Eric Rozendaal of Rockville Market Farm. Moderating the FarmsTEDs will be Darlene Wolnik, an independent farmers’ market consultant and researcher. Whether you are interested in utilizing the full capacity of your on-farm resources and farm-grown products in the marketplace, innovations in community-based food systems, or expanding your market to new areas, the three FarmsTED speakers bring with them an abundance of knowledge and experience working within the Vermont food system. If you crave a chance to be challenged and inspired, you don’t want to miss the 2014 Direct Marketing Conference. The FarmsTED speakers are only the start to a fun- and information-filled day in South Royalton, VT. The main sessions of the conference this year will feature two tracks; one for farmers who market directly to consumers and another new track for farmers’ market organizers. The main conference will feature 16 workshops on a variety of marketing and market development topics, while the farmers’ market track includes intensive working sessions. The conference will also host the annual meeting of the Vermont Farmers’ Market Association and coaching sessions for new farmers and improving online marketing.

For more information and to register, visit us online at www.nofavt.org/dmc. Each Vermont Farmers’ Market Association member market is invited to send one representative to the conference, free of charge, who is able to attend and vote at the organization’s annual meeting held at the conference. Registration fees are $40 for NOFA Vermont members and $50 for non-members. A lunch made with local ingredients and refreshments is included with the conference fee. Walk-in registrations are also welcome, but lunch may not be available. We hope to see you there!