Recognizing ingenuity and the spirit of collaboration that has helped build the Food MarketMaker program
Sponsored by Farm Credit, the Innovation Award recognizes innovative applications of the MarketMaker program that have demonstrated the support of MarketMaker’s overarching goals to connect producers to markets and to improve consumer access to fresh, healthy, local foods.
Past Award Winners
2011: Get Connected with Ohio MarketMaker
R. David Lamie and Amber Von Harten, Clemson Institute for Economic and Community Development
From 2009 to 2011, Ohio more than doubled the number of profiles registered with MarketMaker, including involvement of strong food industry organizations, such as the Ohio Produce Growers and Marketers Association and the Ohio Grocers Association. Statewide collaboration continued to expand, bringing together existing partners like the Ohio Department of Agriculture and Ohio Farm Bureau with new partners like the Ohio Ecological Food and Farming Association. A Working Group Guidebook was drafted to create consistent communications and expectations for Ohio MarketMaker working group members and their organizations.
2011: South Carolina
Julie Fox, Ohio State University
Partners: Lori Panda, ODA/Ohio Proud; Pat Petzel, Ohio Farm Bureau/Our Ohio; Christy Eckstein, Ohio Grape Industries Committee; Rebecca Singer, Center for Innovative Food Technology; Christie Welch, Ohio Farmers Markets; Jill Clark, Ohio State University Center for Farmland Policy Innovation
Project partners including Clemson University, Sea Grant Extension, and the South Carolina (SC) Department of Agriculture secured funding from the SC Sea Grant Consortium to work toward including seafood and aquaculture products in the Marketmaker mix. A fish–seafood working group led by SC and Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant Extension specialists created a set of attributes to help seafood producers, including fishermen and retailers, market their local offerings. The project also resulted in the registration of a growing number of fish and seafood businesses with MarketMaker, in three new states’ joining the MarketMaker network, and in new involvement of state Sea Grant programs.
2012: Kentucky MarketReady Program
Tim Woods and Kevin Heidemann, University of Kentucky
With assistance from the MarketMaker network and the Applied Sustainability Center at the University of Arkansas, MarketReady was created to help producers wishing to sell or expand into commercial markets. Delivery in Kentucky was made possible with assistance of the Southern Risk Management Educator Center. Two programs—MarketReady for Restaurants and MarketReady for Grocery, Wholesale and Foodservice—were designed around best business-to-business practices. Over 300 producers completed both MarketReady training programs in Kentucky, Ohio, Illinois, and Tennessee, and train-the-trainer programs were provided to partner MarketMaker state programs (IL, OH, IN, PA, MS, SC, LA, and FL, as well as states on the periphery in TN and NC). Producers completing the training agreed to periodic follow-up to explore their progress in new sales.
2012: Eat Healthy, Mississippi
Ken Hood, Mississippi State University
A partnership between Mississippi MarketMaker, Mississippi State University Extension, the Mississippi Restaurant Association, and the state Department of Agriculture and Commerce promoted local foods to Mississippi restaurants, with chefs and owners encouraged to use MarketMaker to seek local producers to supply local foods. The restaurants then used the local foods to create more healthy recipes for patrons. The program increased knowledge of MarketMaker among restaurants, increased local markets for producers, encouraged consumers to seek more healthy eating choices when dining away from home, and promoted local foods. The program was well received by the public and received the support of the governor’s office./p>
2013: Using Michigan MarketMaker to Expand the Impact of Michigan Food Banks
Tim Kalchik, Michigan State University
The Food Bank Council of Michigan used Michigan MarketMaker to address the state’s food insecurity, identifying potential local suppliers to food banks, food pantries, and regional supporting distribution warehouses. In 2011 the program doubled the number of participating farms and increased the amount of contracted produce to more than 1.2 million pounds. As a result of this project, MarketMaker began including “food banks” as a searchable category on its website.
2014: Increasing Healthy Food Access in Underserved Communities by using New York MarketMaker
Khin Mar Cho, Cornell University
The Faith-Based Food Hubs Program of Cornell University Cooperative Extension New York City (CUCE-NYC) increases access to New York farm products by faith-based organizations. The main objectives of are to link faith-based organizations to over 2,000 New York State farmers; increase healthy food access in the faith-based community; and provide local food pantries, soup kitchens, and neighborhood residents access to fresh fruits and vegetables at reasonable prices.
2015: Building Partnerships to Assist Grower Marketing Efforts across the Food Value Chain
Ron Rainey, Beverly Dunaway, University of Arkansas
The Arkansas initiative used MarketMaker to strategically engage various partners in the food value chain. Most notably, increasing farmer engagement in farm-to-school programs led the state legislature to pass a pilot program for five K-12 schools promoting readiness for careers in agriculture through incorporating agrieducation curriculum. Other outcomes included increased clientele, profits, and on-farm business for state farmers and www.localandgrown.org, a consumer engagement mobile application platform.
2016: Components that Worked for Louisiana MarketMaker
John Westra, Louisiana State University
MarketReady training programs tailored to Louisiana producers were held in eight locations and helped provide networking opportunities for more than 200 producers to connect with interested local buyers. At each location, MarketMaker registrations increased, and some producers started to sell product to local grocers, chefs, caterers, or local school systems. The workshops, in conjunction with other traditional MarketMaker activities (such as presentations and tabling at producer meetings), provided networking opportunities for producers that increased sales, and they were a substantial contributor in attracting more sellers and buyers to the Louisiana MarketMaker website.
2017: ConnectFresh Illinois: A Robust Online Direct Marketing Network for Farmers Markets and the What’s in Season Phone App
The Illinois Farmers Market Association, Janie Maxwell, Executive Director
The Illinois Farmers Market Association (ILFMA) launched its new website featuring ConnectFresh Illinois, powered by MarketMaker and the What’s in Season app for specialty crops, in January 2017. Results included 1,694 hits on ConnectFresh and 1,472 hits on ILFMA Markets in just 10 months, a nearly 50 percent increase in the number of MarketMaker profiles created by farmers markets and producers, and a 121 percent increase in the number of profiles updated since the launch. The expanded MarketMaker database is synchronized and updated automatically on both the Illinois Specialty Growers portal and the ILFMA website.
2018: Louisiana Farm to School Program
Crystal R. Besse, Alessandro Holzapfel, Carl Motsenbocker with the LSU AgCenter
The Louisiana Farm to School program, in supporting MarketMaker’s overarching goals to connect producers to markets and improve consumer access to fresh, healthy, local foods, has developed video tutorials on creating producer and school-based buyer accounts and on searching for local product using MarketMaker. The program has also introduced 267 producers to MarketMaker as part of MarketReady workshops throughout the state, developed a promotional program, integrated MarketMaker as the exclusive platform for local food procurement for the Harvest of the Month program in institutions and schools, and established Harvest of the Month teams representing 243 Louisiana schools with MarketMaker profiles.
Past Runners Up
2018: Illinois Farmers Market Association
2018: Iowa State University
2017: Arkansas MarketMaker
2017: Bryan Dailey University of Florida
2016: Brenda Reau and Joanne Davidhizar Michigan State University
2016: Courtney Long Iowa State University
2015: Kathleen Liang, University of Vermont
2015: Virginia MarketMaker, Dr. Kimberly Morgan
2014: University of Georgia MarketMaker Team
2014: Ohio State University Ohio MarketMaker Team
2014: Iowa State University Iowa MarketMaker Team
2013: Iowa State University
2013: New York MarketMaker Team
2019 Applications are Open
DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION: Friday, September 6, 2019
SHOW YOUR STUFF! The National MarketMaker Network is seeking best-practices proposals in four areas: • Marketing • Strategic Partnerships • Outreach • Education
MONETARY AWARDS: Up to three Innovation Awards will be made, dependent on the quality of applications: $6,000 for 1st place, $4,000 for 2nd place, $3,000 for 3rd place. Award winners will also receive up to $750 in travel scholarship to attend the award ceremony at the National Value-Added Agriculture Conference in Chicago, Illinois, on October 7–9, 2019. DOWNLOAD THE APPLICATION FORM WITH COMPLETE DETAILS (PDF)