Minnesota Farmers Market Association Fall Conference set for Nov. 7

The Minnesota Farmers Market Association’s (MFMA) fall conference will highlight challenges farmers markets are facing. Two of the hottest issues in Minnesota’s local food include increasing Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participation at farmers markets and finding ways to better support the state’s vibrant and growing number of farmers markets.

Dru Montri, director of the Michigan Farmers Market Association (MiFMA), is the featured speaker, sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota. She will share the reasons behind MiFMA’s success in bringing SNAP participants to Michigan farmers markets. In 2012, Michigan’s farmers markets had more than double the SNAP sales than the other five Midwestern states combined. Additionally, Montri has helped increase the number of farmers markets in Michigan from 90 in 2001 to over 300 today.

“We’d like to thank Blue Cross Blue Shield for sponsoring our speaker this year,” said Bill Boutang, president of the MFMA. “The Michigan Farmers Market Association has a lot to offer us and we appreciate our partnership with Blue Cross Blue Shield that allows us to learn from this valuable resource.”

Other workshops during the day include:

• Update on MFMA’s farmers market certification program;

• Impact of the Food Safety Modernization Act on farmers markets;

• Government food assistance programs available at farmers markets;

• Advice on operating farmers markets as a business; and

• Update on SNAP participation at Minnesota farmers markets this year.

MFMA’s Fall Conference is open to the public and will be held Thursday, November 7, from 8:15 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. at the American Legion Silver Star Post 428, 17 Second Ave. North, Waite Park. Conference handouts, refreshments and lunch are included in the registration fees. Go to www.mfma.org for conference details and to register, or contact Kathy Zeman at atkzeman@mfma.org or (320) 250-5087.

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