Meet Scott Kelland, manager at Merrickville Mid-week Market

Merrickville Mid-week Market vendors attended an agricultural fair to help promote their market

Last month, four of about 17 vendors from Merrickville Mid-week Market attended the Merrickville Agricultural Fair and Steam Show. Being involved in community events like fairs is what market manager Scott Kelland says reinforces the important relationship between farmers’ markets and the communities near them.

Consumer connection to where food comes from

It’s all about community involvement and fostering a sense of connection among like-minded consumers who value the relationship between farmers and customers.

For example, fairs provide a lot of exposure to the farming, growing and farmers’ market worlds. It’s an opportunity to spark a relationship with customers who have never been to a farmers’ market.

Scott thinks it’s especially important for kids to understand where their food comes from.

“Seeing kids make the connection to growing and growers and the food they enjoy – that’s one of my favourite things.”

After all, the fun, vibrant atmosphere of a fair that kids love is mimicked at a farmers’ market!

 Scott’s advice for other market managers: embrace collaboration

If you know about an upcoming community event that you want your market to be a part of, Scott suggests getting involved as early as possible. He recommends being included in the planning cycle so that everyone involved is prepared to deal with any bumps along the road.

“The folks that organize the Merrickville Agricultural Fair are farmers. We have a lot in common, and the cooperation was a natural thing,” said Scott.

He also says it’s important to embrace joint marketing and promotional activities. Do the event planners have an interview with a local radio station? Ask if you can join them or if they’ll specifically mention the market! Advertise the event at your market for a few weeks before it happens! OR Offer to sell tickets for the event at your farmers’ market! Collaboration works because it makes everyone look good – and customers love seeing these kinds of relationships!