Series of Farmers’ Market training workshops to be run across the country

A series of farmers’ market training workshops will be run across the country by Bord Bia in the coming weeks.

Food, drink and horticulture producers are invited to join these training workshops to improve a number of skills, including sales and marketing.

A total of four ‘Skills Training for Selling at Farmers Markets’ workshops will take place around the country, starting with The Fumbally Stables, Dublin 8 on February 20.

Further workshops will also take place in Co. Donegal in The Radisson Blu, Letterkenny on February 28, in Co. Cavan at the Farnham Estate on March 1, and in Co. Kerry at the Europe Hotel, Killarney on March 7.

The half-day interactive workshops will provide practical solutions to the challenges most frequently faced by market sellers.

The workshops will be delivered by Co. Wicklow based food producer, farmer and successful stallholder Margaret Hoctor from Kilmullen Farm.

Hoctor, who is a regular at the Marley Park food market in Dublin, will share her own knowledge and wide experience of how she developed the family business through this channel.

A recent Bord Bia study indicates that two thirds of Irish consumers believe it is important purchase food locally, with one in three consumers purchasing more local food today than they did 12 months ago.

Currently Bord Bia is working with some 700 small Irish food and drink businesses, an increase of 75% compared to 2013 figures.

The number of local food and farmers’ markets have also experienced considerable growth in recent years.

In 2014, Bord Bia research identified over 150 food markets in Ireland, including community markets, farmers markets, lunch-time markets, weekend city markets, co-operatives and country markets.

The common aim of these events is to allow producers to sell their produce directly to consumers in a traditional market environment.

Farmers Markets are a great opportunity for local food producers and entrepreneurs to tell their story and to understand what captures consumers’ interest, according to Minister of State for Food, Forestry and Horticulture Andrew Doyle.

These Bord Bia training workshops are a great opportunity to ‘get market-fit’ and I’d encourage anyone thinking of starting or developing sales in a farmers market to attend.

Meanwhile, farmers’ markets continue to play a vital route to market in the start-up phase and beyond for some producers, Senior Manager of Food and Beverages at Bord Bia Mary Morrissey said.

“Our research has highlighted the growing demand for local food and the upcoming workshops offer a timely opportunity for existing and prospective producers to take advantage of this consumer trend.

“Attendees will further develop skills and gain expertise in the areas of stall management, selling and marketing tips, building customer loyalty and budgeting,” she said.

Places for these workshops are limited and cost €15/person, so interested parties are encouraged to register early. Further information or details on how to apply are available online.