It’s farmers market season and vendors are beginning to make their weekly trips to markets around the state. But, running a business may not come naturally to some small-time farmers. A program this week at the University of Northern Iowa is designed to help these growers learn the basics of selling their products.
Andy Larson is a Small Farm Specialist with Iowa State University Extension. “Farmers are generally people who love to farm. They love to grow things and they love to raise animals. Marketing isn’t always their strongest suit,” Larson says. Iowa has around 230 farmers markets – the fifth most per capita in the country, according to the U.S.D.A.
Larson has been holding workshops around the state for a couple of years. He advises vendors to focus on building a reputation around one or two items and using that to sell other products.
“Diversified farmers and alternative farmers in Iowa are growing such a humongous variety of things that they have a hard time really specializing and becoming known for one thing,” Larson said. More information about this Friday’s workshop in Cedar Falls is available through U.N.I.’s Center for Energy and Environmental Education or I.S.U. Extension.