Local Food Workshop: Soil to Shelf
Announcer: Farm and family is a production of the Mississippi State University Extension Service.
Amy Myers: Today we're talking about the local food workshop Soil to Shelf. Hello, I'm Amy Myers and welcome to farm and family. Today we're speaking with Dr. James Barnes, Mississippi State University Extension Associate Professor. Also with Dr. Rachael Carter, Mississippi State University Extension Economist.
First Rachael, what is this Soil to Shelf Workshop you want listeners to know about?
Rachael Carter: Well Amy, this workshop is going to be all about helping growers and producers learn how to reach new markets such as grocery stores and other retailers. They're going to learn about a lot of different topics associated with that and have some interaction.
Amy Myers: Sounds great. So, who comes to the Soil to Shelf Workshop?
Rachael Carter: Well, if you are somebody that is an agricultural producer or grower that's wanting to sell to retail markets then this workshop would be ideal for you. If you have specialty products that you're interested in selling and learn how that process works. And then also, if you're a grocer or a retailer, if you want to attend as well, this'll be a great opportunity.
Amy Myers: Okay. So even grocery store managers or store owners?
Rachael Carter: Yes.
Amy Myers: And Dr. Barnes, what will folks learn at the Soil to Shelf Workshop?
James Barnes: Well Amy, we've got a full day of activities for growers and our producers, and it's really, this is kind of a matchmaking workshop. We're bringing together both sides, trying to create more opportunities for both. So we're going to start the day off with some presentations from local retail establishments. They're going to be talking about the things that they need to have in place to work with farmers, so that's going to be really insightful and that's how we're going to start the day.
So, the next thing we're going to talk about that morning is really the Mississippi Farm to School program. We're going to talk about how producers can get connected to schools to start selling their produce, and really, what it's going to take. They have to be certified. There are some standards of course, but we're going to tell them what those are. We're going to have specialists there from the Mississippi Department of Ag and Commerce to explain all of that to the producers. So there's no more, "I don't know what to do." It's going to be very, very clear. Here's how you get involved and here's what you do next.
The other thing we're going to be talking about is a program at the Mississippi Department of Ag and Commerce, Genuine Mississippi. It is a branding program to help local producers reach local markets, so they're going to be there explaining what producers can do to take advantage of that program.
And then we're going to move into, after lunch, a little bit about farm financial planning and marketing. That's the real umbrella, if you will, for the afternoon. So Dr. Elizabeth Canalis, she's going to be talking about farm production planning and finances, and what that looks like with expanding into these retail opportunities. So, she's going to be looking at that and explaining what those things can look like for producers.
Then we're going to talk about how do you market your farm online? A lot of the times these local retailers are going to go online and they're going to look for the farm and see a little bit about them on social media, maybe a website. We're going to cover some those things. Some of the basics you should have in place just so you have an online presence.
And really after that, we're going to have what's called a farmer success story. We're going to have a local farmer come in and talk about the success he has had selling locally and what that's done for his bottom line. And then at the end of the day, Amy, we're going to have a time where the growers can get together with the retailers, talk about the opportunities they can get together, and how it can benefit both.
Amy Myers: Rachael, is there anything you would like to add about the Soil to Shelf Workshop?
Rachael Carter: We've got so many partners from around the state that are coming together to support this initiative. Mississippi Power is a sponsor. We're working with Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce and Mississippi Farm Bureau. Commissioner Andy Gibson is going to be there from Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce. And there's going to be a working lunch. The workshop is free, but preregistration is required.
We need to go ahead and get everybody signed up, so we're asking that everybody pre-register by December 8th because space is limited for this program.
Amy Myers: So when and where will the Soil to Shelf Workshop be held, and where can we go for more information and to register?
Rachael Carter: The workshop's going to be held December 10th in Jackson, Mississippi at the Agricultural and Forestry Museum. If people want to register for this workshop, they can go to extension.msstate.edu and then type in Soil to Shelf into the search box, and that will give you all the information that you need.
Amy Myers: Okay. And that is Tuesday, December 10th, 8:30, and they can also Google Soil to Shelf Workshop Mississippi, right?
Rachael Carter: Yes, that will pull up the information as well.
Amy Myers: Thank you so much. Today we've been speaking with Dr. James Barnes, Mississippi State University Extension Associate Professor. Also with Dr. Rachael Carter, Mississippi State University Extension Economist.
I'm Amy Myers. This has been Farm and Family. Have a great day.
Announcer: Farm and Family is a production of the Mississippi State University Extension Service.