|Date: February 21
Time: 8:30 am - 5:00 pm
Location: Bellingham Technical College
The Future of Local: The Power of Collective Marketing and Telling your Story with Impact
Mark your calendars now for NW Washington’s biggest food & farm business conference and connections event!
- Lots of networking!
- Valuable workshops and panel discussions
- Local product trade show
- Seven course local lunch from NW Washington Chefs Collective & Bellingham Technical College’s Culinary Arts program!
Keynote Address – Mark Mulcahy, Organic Options
Keynote Mark Mulcahy is an award-winning retail consultant, educator, and organic advocate. He is the owner of Organic Options, which provides consulting for farmers, produce distributors, co-ops, and independent retailers worldwide. With more than 35 years in the organic produce industry, Mark is well known for his creative merchandising, effective training techniques, passion for produce, successful financial strategies, and dedication to sustainable agriculture.
8:00-8:30 Coffee and Tea served
8:30-8:45 Welcome & Overview of the day
8:45-9:20 Keynote Address – Mark Mulcahy, Organic Options
9:20-10:00 Speed Networking
10:00-10:30 Networking Break and Trade Show
10:30-11:45 Workshops Session 1
11:45-12:00 Networking Break and Trade Show
12:00-1:15 Lunch – presented by BTC’s Culinary Arts Program students and NW WA Chefs Collective
1:15-2:30 Producer/Buyer Meet & Greet
2:30-2:45 Networking Break and Trade Show
2:45-4:00 Workshop Session 2
4:00-4:15 End Cap Speaker – Blaine Wetzel, Willows Inn
Workshop Session 1 Topics:
-Local Direct Marketing & Knowing your Customer: You have a good product or a viable business model, but do you know your customers or the best ways to reach them? Spend the morning with communications aficionado Diana Meeks from Sustainable Connections and keynote and local food marketer Mark Mulcahy to learn how to identify your customers, create invigorating content, and narrow in on best practices for direct marketing to get a larger slice of your community’s support.
-The Skinny on Seafood: The world of seafood is big, complicated, and ever-changing. From lessons learned on working with wholesale buyers and selling direct, to what it’s like in the day-to-day life of a fisherman, hear the latest on what’s happening in various seafood industries, and get up to speed on current trends and seafood issues that are important to today’s consumers.
-Packaging & Processing: While developing a value-added product can make for a viable business venture or add-on, it can be a seemingly daunting process to explore. Learn from WSU Extension’s Food Processing Specialist Girish Ganjyal what it takes to go through the many steps of food processing from an idea to finished product. Viva Farms’ Produce & Sales Manager JR Staton will share lessons learned from research on starting a mid-scale processing facility, and opportunities for farmers to reduce waste while building new avenues for profit.
Workshop Session 2 Topics:
-The Power of Many–Co-ops and community-based models for marketing and running food businesses: Two hundred years after the first official cooperative was formed, this model for businesses is growing, and for good reason. Learn more about business and worker-owned cooperatives, as well as community models that highlight unique business partnerships and valuable opportunities for collective marketing. Hear from four local and regional food cooperatives about what’s behind the formation of cooperative structure, benefits from participating businesses and members, and how to build stronger local food businesses together.
– Building a Sustainable Food Business: local sourcing & selling, waste, marketing, and more: When you hear the words “sustainable business”, what comes to mind? Hear from wholesale buyers, a farmer, and a waste expert on the how-to of sourcing/selling local food that works for their business, budget, and marketing efforts; how to reduce waste and save money; and how to utilize forward contracts to grow business partnerships and tell the story of food from seed to plate.
– GAPs, Food Safety updates, and making your plan: Food safety regulations are more important than ever in the food industry. In this workshop, we will give a broad overview of Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) Certification and the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), cover what your farm or processing facility needs to meet these standards, and offer practical advice and next steps to implement them within your business.
Thank you to our event sponsors!