Visitors to several local farmers markets across Northeast Iowa may notice a few changes this season. Six markets–Cresco, Decorah, Guttenberg, Independence, Oelwein, and Postville–will be part of a regional project working to ensure the sustainability and success of farmers markets by supporting and enhancing the role of market managers.
The project, coordinated by Northeast Iowa RC&D, will provide three years of funding to support a paid market manager position and marketing efforts. It will also provide managers with everything from tents, tables, and cash-boxes to one‐on‐one technical assistance and strategic planning and action steps.
“The project hopes to address the long-term challenges facing farmers markets across Iowa,” says Josh Dansdill, director of business development projects for Northeast Iowa RC&D. “Even though vendors are the face of any farmers market, the market manager plays a pivotal role in the success of both the vendors and the market. Supporting our local market managers will benefit the entire local food system, from farmer through to consumer.”
The project will build on the highly successful Iowa Farmers Market Manager Toolkit created by Northeast Iowa RC&D and now being replicated in Nebraska. The toolkit will be expanded to include online training modules and a market manager certification program that will provide a template, structure, and resources for creating successful farmers markets.
Funding for the project was provided by a Farmers Market Promotion Program award from the United States Department of Agriculture.
Northeast Iowa RC&D works with partners from throughout the region to explore natural resource based economic development while protecting and enhancing natural resources. For more information, email [email protected] or call (563) 864-7112.