For the next year, beginning October 1, 2014, I will be stepping back from day-to-day program delivery and management to focus more deeply on the areas of direct marketing and labor management as they impact small and medium-sized farms. Specifically I will be working on some new decision-making tools farmers can use to determine their optimal market mix and labor needs to attain their business goals.
One of the activities I’m looking forward to is the opportunity to talk with consumers about how their purchasing decisions have changed over time, the role of social media in their decision making, and what attributes of locally produced farm products are important to them.
This year of study starts with the opportunity to attend the 2014 Slow Food Terra Madre and Salone del Gusto in Torino, Italy. This biennial event draws individuals from all over the world who are passionate about good, clean and fair food for the world’s largest food and wine fair, Salone del Gusto, and the concurrent world meeting of food communities, Terra Madre. Those that know my passion for farmers’ markets can probably guess how excited I am about this opportunity!
Learn more about the Ark of Taste and the movement to preserve unique foods in this video.
Having the gift of a year to focus on these areas of interest is a wonderful benefit of my work and I am extremely grateful for the opportunity. But sabbaticals do leave holes that need to be filled. My leave would not happen without all of my fabulous UVM Extension co-workers, starting with Beth Holtzman and Heidi Krantz, who will be picking up many of my responsibilities during my absence. Keep an eye here for some updates on my adventures!