Following dinner, a panel of local food professionals offered their insight into making connections easier for farms and food businesses. Serving on the panel was Norm Oeding, farm manager of Janzen Family Farms in Newton, Chef Tanya Tandoc, Chef and owner of Tanya’s Soup Kitchen in Wichita, Jennifer McVey, Assistant Manager at Food for Thought, Inc. in Wichita, Pat Randleas, Old Town Farmers’ Market Manager in Wichita, and Sarah Turner, member of Slow Food Wichita/ Flint Hills. A few of the valuable questions addressed by the panel included:
There can be many challenges selling or buying local food? What have been some challenges you have discovered and how have you worked through them?
How is buying your food via a local food system different from buying from the agribusiness / supermarket corporations?
Lance Chastian, a blueberry farmer and owner of Chautauqua Hills Farm (CHF), presented to guests methods for effectively utilizing online and social media to expand a local food market. Chastian, assisted by Olivia Fletcher a computer science major at WSU and freelance marketing consultant, demonstrated methods CHF has used to connect with potential customers online as well as a few technological tips on navigating through online media.
The second workshop topic of the evening was presented by Rebecca McMahon, Sedgwick County Extension Horticulturist. McMahon offered advice on communicating seemingly simple words often used when talking about local food. With words like “organic” or “natural” which can sometimes get translated differently, McMahon presented their definitions and how to better communicate your product to a potential buyer or seller.
Ending the evening was keynote speaker JJ Jones, Marketing and Trade Coordinator for the Kansas Department of Agriculture. Jones delivered an insightful response to the growing local food market in Kansas. Describing experiences travelling to other parts of the country and world, Jones offered commentary on what will be important developments in the future of food and farming in Kansas.
The New Year will bring many exciting opportunities for the OLF program. Additional day long workshops and potential webinars will be developed to continue the conversations had at this workshop. If you were unable to attend this year’s workshop, you can find copies of the workshop program and slides from the online marketing and local food lingo sessions by clicking on the links below.
Workshop Program .pdf
Social Media & Internet Marketing .pdf Presentation
Leaning Local Food Lingo .pdf Presentation