CHUCK KUEPFER, Staff Reporter
Foodlink Waterloo Region is hosting the Community Barn: Farmer Networking Event on Tuesday, Feb. 12.
The free workshop will provide an opportunity to learn more about Foodlink’s programs and how to effectively market your farm business.
“Consumers are welcome, but I would say our target is farmers and producers, and key partners and stakeholders in local food,” said Foodlink’s Anna Contini.
Featured speakers will include: Melissa Baer of Baer’s Vibrant Farms; Cindy Gerber of Oakridge Acres; Sean Zister of Seven Shores Cafe; and Dale Stevanus of Stevanus Family Farms.
“They will tell their own story about how they have marketed their farm business and in particular the role that Foodlink has played for them,” said Contini. “The other aspect of the day is to provide a networking opportunity for farmers and producers to meet one another, as well as others in the local food industry, retailers or others in the chain.”
Those who attend will receive a brief questionnaire when they enter, which will provide the basis for a discussion later in the afternoon facilitated by Paul Bowers of OMAFRA.
Participant input will also be invaluable as Foodlink moves forward.
Contini said the non-profit organization, which is committed to promote local food and farms, has reached a crossroads in terms of the services and programs it offers.
“We are hoping that the input we receive from our farmers and food producers will kind of shape our future as well,” she said.
Whatever lies ahead for Foodlink, the organization will publish its 12th annual Buy Local! Buy Fresh! map this spring.
Information on the map will be available at the Feb. 12 networking event, which is being held at Trinity United Church in Elmira from 1-4 p.m.
The workshop is free, but space is limited. Pre-registration is required and can be done by calling Contini at 519-513-8998 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.