Growing the Local Food Market: a mini-conference for Farms, CSAs and Farmers’ Markets
Join us for an afternoon of networking, training and resource-sharing
Thursday, March 23, 2:00-7:00 PM
Lenox Community Center, 65 Walker St, Lenox MA
Attend the whole day or just one portion.
2:00-6:00pm: SNAP Sign Up: drop-in information sessions & registration to become an authorized SNAP retailer; HIP info and sign-up available for Mass farmers
2:00-3:30pm: Networking Event for farmers and market managers with a focus on marketing
3:30-5:00pm: HIP Training for farms and farmers’ market managers
5:00-7:00pm: Annual Farmers’ Market Manager meeting
Networking Event for Farmers & Farmers’ Market Managers
Join your fellow farmers for networking and brainstorming about how to better market your farm and products. We’ll have informal training addressing topics such as: online promotion and social media; managing your farmers’ market stand; building customer loyalty; getting to know your SNAP customers; and involving your community on the farm.
HIP – the Healthy Incentives Program – is a statewide program in Massachusetts that will match SNAP purchases of local fruits and vegetables at farmers’ markets, farm stands, mobile markets and CSAs. Beginning in April, customers will receive an instant, dollar-for-dollar match credited to their EBT card, which can be used at any SNAP retailer for any future SNAP eligible purchase. Berkshire households will need to spend SNAP dollars on fruits and vegetables at a CSA, farm stand or farmers’ market to earn this HIP incentive. If you are a farmers’ market vendor, a farm stand, a CSA farm, or a market manager, this training will provide the information you need to implement and process HIP benefits.
**All farmers’ market vendors who would like to accept HIP should attend and sign up for SNAP: HIP will be processed at individual vendor stands, rather than through the market managers.**
Farmers’ Market Manager Meeting
Our annual Farmers’ Market Manager meeting provides an opportunity for markets from throughout the region to come together to brainstorm ideas and troubleshoot common problems. We’ll discuss effective marketing techniques for your market, vendor needs, counting and increasing customers, and joint efforts to promote markets in the region, including new initiatives in the works from Berkshire Grown. Bring your questions for the group, and success stories you’d like to share! If your market is not currently signed up to take SNAP and you would like to, be sure to come early to attend our SNAP sign-ups, beginning at 2pm.
At this drop-in information session you can get your farm, farm stand or farmers’ market authorized for SNAP and receive your USDA FNS number the very same day! USDA staff will be on site to walk you through the process and assist with your application. You will also learn about equipment options and about processing SNAP and the new Healthy Incentives Program (HIP) benefit.
Farmers – documents required:
If you intend on getting an FNS (SNAP retailer authorization) number, please bring copies of the following documents which will be attached to your application:
- Picture ID (driver’s license or passport).
- Social Security Card (or other official document with your name and SSN).
- Copy of voided check for bank account you will use to deposit funds.
Non-profit 501(c)(3) Farmers’ Markets – documents required:
Farmers Markets operated/sponsored by a non-profit are the ONLY applicants that are not required to submit verification of a Social Security number for corporate officers/board members.
- Copy of the IRS Determination Letter stating the organization is a 501(c)(3). A (C)(4) and (C)(6) will not be accepted.
- Letter from the sponsoring agency stating that they are sponsoring the farmers market and who they have appointed as their legal representative to operate the farmers market.
- The application must be signed by a corporate officer or a board member.
Government Owned/Operated Farmers Markets – documents required:
- Copy of the City/Town IRS EIN/TIN Tax Exempt Letter.
- City/Town Official must sign the Application Certification Page.
- No personal information is required or needed.