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Free Social Media Training for Iowa’s Farmers Markets 

By February 26, 2020 No Comments

(Amana, Iowa) – Today’s farmers markets need a strong social media presence to reach customers. But market managers and vendors who are busy growing their markets and products struggle to grow their social media skills at the same time. Local food system professionals are addressing this need by offering free social media coaching in 2020.

 

The Boost Social Media Coaching Program is a free, seven-month opportunity for farmers market managers and vendors in Iowa to receive one-on-one assistance in effectively using social media to promote their market or business. The program—a collaboration between Iowa Valley RC&D (Amana) and Northeast Iowa RC&D (Postville)—is in its second year. In 2019, nine market managers and ten market vendors completed the program with participation regionally focused in Northeastern and Eastern Iowa, including Decorah, Cedar Rapids, and Iowa City.

 

“Before I participated in the Boost Program, I felt like I had nothing creative left to say on social media,” says 2019 participant Donna Warhover, a farmers market vendor and the owner of Morning Glory Farm in Mount Vernon, Iowa. “I now have a social media plan that has helped to increase followers, exposure in the community, and CSA members.”

 

Now accepting applications for 2020, the Boost program will expand its geographic reach to welcome participants from across the state.

Over seven months (March-September), participants work one-on-one with a social media coach to learn how to leverage social media as a tool to promote their markets or products, attract new customers, demonstrate economic value, and build community. The program covers content strategy; photography and videography; brand messaging; tagging, hashtags, and collaboration; engagement; and implementing a social media plan into a business operation.

“Social media is an easy-to-use, cost-effective medium to reach a wide audience of current and potential customers,” says coach Josh Dansdill. “This program is about meeting managers and vendors where they are at and setting realistic timelines for sustainable change. Maybe it’s setting a goal to post a photo every Tuesday or maybe it’s collaborating with the other market vendors to maximize reach.”

 

There is no cost to participate in the Boost Social  Media Coaching Program. Interested farmers market managers and vendors can apply at iowavalleyrcd.org/boost.

 

Applications are due by 11:59 PM, Sunday, March 1, 2020, and applicants will be notified by March 9 regarding acceptance.

 

Iowa Valley RC&D and Northeast Iowa RC&D have been developing and implementing innovative programming to enhance Iowa’s farmers markets for a decade. In addition to one-on-one social media coaching, they are also hosting free group trainings across Iowa. Trainings have already been held in Independence, Coralville, Decorah, Ottumwa, and Waterloo—with upcoming trainings in Davenport and Clear Lake. More information can be found at iowavalleyrcd.org/boost.

 

The Boost program and the regional trainings are supported by a USDA Farmers Market Promotion Program grant.

 

For questions or more information, please reach out to Boost Social Media Coaches:

 

Jessica Reuter

Josh Dansdill

Iowa Valley RC&D

Northeast Iowa RC&D

reuter@ivrcd.org

josh@northeastiowarcd.org 

319-622-3264

563-864-7112

 

Iowa Valley RC&D is a nonprofit based in Amana, Iowa that works to grow local economies, strengthen food systems, foster protection and enhancement of natural resources, and develop awareness for the arts, history, and culture. They facilitate partner collaboration, solve problems at a system level, and leverage resources to get more done.

Northeast Iowa RC&D, a non-profit based in Postville, Iowa, stands beside its partners from throughout the region to explore natural resource-based economic development opportunities while at the same time protecting and enhancing natural resources. Their mission is to recognize opportunities and provide leadership to make Northeast Iowa a vibrant, place-based model for the nation.

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Contact: Jessica Reuter

Program Associate

Iowa Valley RC&D

319.622.3264

reuter@ivrcd.org