For the next year, beginning October 1, 2014, WAgN Director Mary Peabody 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,” she says. “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 ag 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.
If you’d like to follow Mary’s adventures in the coming year, keep an eye on her blog. She’ll also also be posting on WAgN’s social media sites.
“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,” Mary says. “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.”