Farmers market manager looks forward to next season
More advertising, more vendors, more customers and more foot traffic.
Now that Theresa Feiner has her “getting to know you” season out of the way, she’s ready to charge ahead to try to expand the Janesville Farmers Market.
“We’ll hit the ground running looking for sponsorships and pursuing partnerships with nonprofits,” said Feiner, who worked as the manager of the farmers market for the first time this summer. She plans to be back in 2012.
When asked what she learned this summer, Feiner said she was surprised at the variety of people who are involved in a farmers market. Previously she had experience as a vendor and a shopper, she said. This summer she got a crash course in media relations and marketing. She met local business owners and the directors of nonprofit groups.
“I didn’t realize before how many different kinds of people get involved,” Feiner said.
Conversations with Feiner often turn into brainstorming sessions about locally grown food. She’ll chat with anyone who will talk about direct marketing, Feiner said.
She especially appreciates talking with producers, she said.
“It’s really simple,” Feiner said when asked about her favorite part of the job. “I just like talking with the vendors and hearing how they run their businesses and how they envision the ideal farmers market.”
Those conversations are helpful for Feiner’s other job with the Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin program run by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. Over the winter, Feiner and her colleagues will be running workshops around the state to help producers better manage their direct-sales businesses. The Madison workshop, which will take place Wednesday, Dec. 14, will be recorded for use as a webinar.
The workshops also come with witty names such as “Quickbooks 101 for Local Food Producers: Squash your Accounting Fears!”
Who wouldn’t want to attend that?
What’s on Feiner’s wish list for next year’s Janesville Farmers Market? The market seeks sponsors to help boost its advertising budget. Feiner plans to set up tables and chairs for the coffee drinkers and people watchers. She wants to forge partnerships with businesses within walking distance of the market to draw more foot traffic.
She especially hopes for more vendors in 2012. Applications are available. Those who register before Jan. 1 will get 10 percent off a booth.
“We welcome any vendors,” Feiner said. “That’s really important, that anybody feels welcome.”
ON THE WEB
The Janesville Farmers Market seeks vendors for the 2012 season. All vendors are welcome. The market also seeks sponsorships to help boost the market’s advertising power.
For more information, call (608) 289-9292 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Online, visit janesvillefarmersmarket.com.
Janesville market manager Theresa Feiner also works to support producers and direct marketers across the state as an employee of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. The Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin program this winter will host workshops for producers. Visit datcp.wi.gov. Click on the “business” tab and then the “Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin” tab.