WALTON, NY, March 6, 2013 - The Watershed Agricultural Council and Pure Catskills Buy Fresh, Buy Local™ campaign today released the agenda for the March 24, 2013 Farm to Market Connection conference, being held at the CVI Building, One Cablevision Center, Liberty, New York.
The conference offers a day of networking and education about the most current topics in farm and food marketing. Participants gather with local food advocates from across the region including farmers, retailers, restauranteurs, specialty food producers, distributors, farmers' market staff and economic development practitioners.
A "State of the Foodshed" address, led by Rebecca Morgan of the Center for Agricultural Development and Entrepreneurship and Jennifer Grossman, of Jennifer K. Grossman Consulting LLC/NRDC, will set the stage for conference panels and workshops. In this dynamic conference kick-off, a round-up of developing opportunities for Catskills Foodshed producers and their markets will be presented.
A research update and panel focused on building food hub networks will provide the latest in research and practice for the aggregation and distribution of Catskills farm and food products. Participants include Sarah Brannen, President, Upstream Advisors and Consultant to Local Economies Project, New World Foundation; Emily Deans, Catskill Mountainkeeper; Richard Giles, Lucky Dog Organic Farm; Nathan Forster and Olivia Blanchflower, Greenmarket Co.; and Beth McKellips, CCE Madison County and the Growing Upstate Food Hub,
An all-local luncheon, tradeshow and buyer-producer speed networking session provide information sharing and networking opportunities before the afternoon panels and workshops. Panel discussions include "Sharing the Local Food Message Through Technology" and "Supporting Beginning Farmers in the Catskills & Beyond." Workshops led by various experts and include:
- "Pasture to Plate" explores building the bench of livestock farmers to meet market demand through two unique aggregation and distribution models
- "Expanding Your Market Offering with Small-scale Aquaculture" details a means of sustainable farm diversification
- "Understanding Restaurant Systems" provides selling approaches to restaurants
- "The Legalities of On-farm Labor" navigates the challenges of educational farm positions
A bonus workshop, "Pure Catskills Marketplace Orientation," shows producers interested in selling their products online, a new tool for reaching consumer audiences and increasing profitability.
To access the full agenda with speakers and session descriptions, or to register, visit www.farmtomarketconnection2013.eventbrite.com. Registration is $35 per person. Space is limited.
About the Watershed Agricultural Council
Celebrating its 20th year, the Watershed Agricultural Council continues to protect both the rural, land-based economy of the watershed region and the drinking water quality of a reservoir system that serves over nine million New Yorkers. Partnering with farmers, agri-businesses, woodland owners, forest industry professionals and others, the Council furthers both regional business profitability and environmental stewardship.
The Watershed Agricultural Council oversees a regional buy local economic initiative under the Pure Catskills brand that connects regional farm, food and wood product businesses to consumers and outside markets through direct marketing and online outlets.
The Council protects both the rural, land-based economy of the watershed region and the drinking water quality of over nine million people. The Council also assists private landowners in using a variety of best management practices, education, tools and approaches, such as conservation easements, to keep property within a working landscape. Working with farmers, agribusinesses, forest landowners, forest industry professionals and others, the Council seeks to enhance both business profitability and environmental stewardship.
It also champions the use of conservation easements as an option to keep land within a working landscape context. The Council protects over 23,000 acres of farmland through conservation easements, and works with over 500 farmers and 1,000 private woodland owners in the Croton, Catskill and Delaware Watersheds.
The Watershed Agricultural Council works extensively through partnerships with other nonprofit organizations, government agencies and community stakeholders. These collaborations support a watershed management industry that employs hundreds of people throughout the region. The Council is funded in part by New York City Department of Environmental Protection, the U.S. Forest Service, U.S.D.A and other sources. For more information, visit www.nycwatershed.org and www.BuyPureCatskills.com.