Mar 29, 2023
By Rick McNary
I was flabbergasted when I walked out of the Bar-K-Bar Arena building in Lyons and saw that huge parking lot filled with vehicles at the first Market of Farms in 2022. More than 1,400 people came to buy from the 42 vendors we had set up in the Celebration Centre, just south of the Bar-K-Bar Arena.
I had been extremely nervous before that day. I had no idea if anyone would show up. Yet, our members had been asking for a chance to meet and buy from the farms in the Shop Kansas Farms network so thanks to the city of Lyons and Rice County, we provided a platform. Here are some observations we’ve made as to what makes a Shop Kansas Farms’ Market of Farms unique:
- Our vendors are not just local, they are statewide. We had farmers/ranchers/growers from northeast Kansas and southwest Kansas drive more than 2.5 hours to set up shop.
- Our Shop Kansas Farms fans (and buyers) are not just local, they come from all over the state and region. There were people at both of our Market of Farms events in Lyons and Manhattan who came from all over Kansas, Missouri, Colorado, Oklahoma and Texas.
Businesses who want to sell to consumers
For vendors considering the Market of Farms, here are three ways we can help you expand your business:
- We post and pin information about your farm and ranch to our Facebook group, which means people who go there will see your business listed in the featured section.
- We expose you to a much broader customer base than just local customers. If you need help figuring out ways to capture more customers, we can help you!
- We list you in our newsletter that goes out every two weeks and has an open rate of up to 50 percent.
Buyers wanting to buy Kansas-grown food
For Shop Kansas Farms fans considering attending the Market of Farms, here are three ways we can help you:
- We help you meet the people in person who advertise in our group. We consistently hear the sentiment, “I was so happy to finally meet the people I’ve seen advertise on Shop Kansas Farms!”
- We help you buy directly from the people who grow your food.
- We provide workshops on a variety of subjects (like beekeeping) so you can learn how it all works.
Bringing business to your rural community
For communities considering hosting a Market of farms, here are three ways we can help your community:
This is a destination marketing and tourism opportunity for you. We bring visitors to your community who will buy from other businesses while they are there. As Stacy Clark, Rice County Economic Development Director, said, “We knew the people who came were not from around here because they parked in the parking lot wrong. It’s a gravel parking lot so there are no stripes, and the locals know to park north/south, but the visitors just parked randomly.”
- We get your name and information out to our network of 170,000-plus members.
- We help your local farmers, ranchers and growers get exposure to a much broader customer base.
If you want to be a vendor and/or sponsor, you can find more information and sign up here.
If you want to bring a Market of Farms to your community, send us an email!