As a result, consumers looking to frequent farmers’ markets in the Appalachia region will be better able to identify where those markets are located and what products they offer.
Through $75,000 in funding from the Appalachian Regional Commission, The Ohio State University South Centers will be providing marketing assistance to farmers’ markets in the region. This will allow farmers’ market managers and vendors/producers easy access to tools to help get the word out about the benefits of their products.
“Many markets in the region are run by volunteer managers,” Christie Welch, Farmers’ Market specialist with The OSU South Centers, says. “Due to time and resource restrictions, many do not have the luxury of developing a strategic marketing plan to help inform consumers of the benefits of their markets. The OSU South Centers will develop customizable marketing materials to assist these busy producers.”
“This initiative will assist Ohio’s Appalachian communities by creating opportunities to share the bounty of their natural resources with greater Ohio and the entire region,” Fred Deel, director of the Governor’s Office of Appalachia, said. “This collaboration between the OSU South Centers and the Appalachian Regional Commission will generate agricultural dollars, which will then work to leverage growth for the entire region.”
Director Deel presented a check for $75,000 in support of the OSU South Centers marketing initiative. The Ohio Department of Development’s Governor’s Office of Appalachia provides approximately a quarter-million dollars per year via Appalachian Regional Commission funding for Ohio’s Appalachian counties.
Farmers’ markets are considered by many to be a win-win-win for producers, consumers, and the communities of Appalachian Ohio. They provide consumers access to fresh, healthy, locally produced foods, they help smaller farmers maintain their financial stability, and they keep food dollars in the region. In addition to the economic benefits, farmers’ markets also provide many social benefits to the region.
Tom Worley, director of the OSU South Centers, emphasized the benefit the program will have for the Appalachian region of Ohio.
“As we work to expand income of farmers markets in this region, it will continue to build income throughout the region,” Worley said. “The OSU South Centers is pleased to offer assistance from production, all the way through the marketing of the region’s horticultural products.”