Monday, August 10, 2009

Looking for Pros... Producers, That Is

The whole point of our starting Local Roots has been to connect local farmers and other food producers with the people who eat the food. The local weekly farmers' markets make a great start on that, of course, but a lot of farmers don't make it to the markets, and a lot of community members don't shop there.

So all along, we've known that we need to recruit a broad -- and deep -- variety of local producers to sell at the market.

Though we developed our producer guidelines a couple of months ago, we weren't able to schedule our meeting for prospective producer members until tonight.


We set up for a meeting in the main retail space (still empty, of course, making it the perfect place for a crowd), with a computer and projector pointing images at one side of the room and tables with coffee and cookies at the back.

The producers trickled in, and I recognized several faces in the crowd, though many more were unfamiliar to me. (A good sign!)


The two farmers on our steering committee ran the meeting, explaining the guidelines, the way the market will operate, and how to use the online ordering system. The producers raised several questions (many of which we had already anticipated) and offered plenty of good suggestions.

It certainly seemed to be a productive meeting, and it was good to hear some other viewpoints. After being on one track for so many months, I know we have a tendency to see only our path, and it's good to have others point out other possibilities to us.


I baked some old-fashioned sorghum cookies (with lots of local ingredients) this weekend to share with the producers, and others on the steering committee brought a couple of other trays of sweet treats. I think the producers appreciated having someone else make some good things for them for once.

There's still a lot to do before we open, but we certainly can't do it without the producers.

After all, they're the pros.

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