MANHATTAN, Kansas - Kansas farmers’ markets across the state are doing much more than just providing a fresh food source. The farmers offering their produce, as well as the consumers taking advantage of the farm-fresh offerings are also simulating the local economy. There are now 130 active farmers’ markets in Kansas compared to the 26 in operation in 1987. The growth in this sector helps provide Kansans with more revenue and more high-quality food choices.

To help assist current or prospective market vendors, five regional workshops will be held sponsored in part by the Kansas Department of Agriculture’s From the Land of Kansas trademark program. “Expanding local markets allows Kansans the opportunity to boost their local economies. Farmers are able to develop relationships with their consumers, and consumers can be comforted knowing where their food was grown,” said Stacy Mayo, From the Land of Kansas trademark program director.

“Selling food directly to consumers through farmers’ markets provides growers a chance to tell their farm’s story, but has its own set of legal, safety and financial parameters,” said Londa Nwadike, consumer food safety specialist with K-State Research and Extension and the University of Missouri.

Dates and locations are as follows:

January 30, 2015 - Hays, KSU Ag Research Center, 1232 240th Ave, Hays, KS, 67601 February 7, 2015- Atchison, Highland Community College-Atchison campus, 1501 W. Riley Street, Atchison, KS 66002 February 21, 2015 - Chanute, Sanders Hall, Neosho Co. Community College, 800 West 14th Street, Chanute, KS 66720 March 7, 2015 - Pratt, Pratt Area 4-H Center, 61 Lake Rd, Pratt, KS 67124 March 20, 2015 – Olathe, Kansas State University- Olathe, 22201 W. Innovation Dr., Olathe KS 66061

The early-bird deadline to register for these events is Jan. 15, 2015. A fee of $20 a person will cover the costs of the conference, including lunch. A $5 charge will be added to participants who register after Jan 15. Registration forms can be found at 2015 Kansas Farmers Market Conference and Workshops.

Workshop topics will vary by location. Highlighted topics include:

Vendor best practices Creating a healthy working environment Safe food practices Sales tax and Kansas webtax online Accepting non-cash payments

The workshops will run from 9 a.m. and conclude by 3 p.m. Regional workshops are supported by a K-State Research and Extension Epsilon Sigma Phi Endowment Grant, From the Land of Kansas and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

From the Land of Kansas is Kansas’ agriculture trademark program. The program’s goal is to identify and help businesses that grow, produce, process or manufacture products in Kansas. In addition, the program works with and supports restaurants using Kansas products and retailers selling Kansas products and ingredients. The From the Land of Kansas website is a tool to help consumers discover Kansas food and agricultural products, services and experiences from the farm all the way to the fork. Follow the program’s story and meet its members on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.