Janel Leatherman and her staff at the Dallas Farmers Market did an outstanding job as hosts of the 64th Annual NAPMM Conference, March 24-27 at the downtown Sheraton Hotel in the fastest growing metro area in the nation, Dallas, Texas. The opening President's reception, complete with a mariachi band and great authentic Mexican food, was just the start of a conference packed with both information and opportuniities to network. Representatives from over 40 markets from across the country attended and shared their knowledge. Session topics included a timely presentation by Miriam Miller, from United Fresh, on legislation in Washington that will affect markets, to another plenary presentatiuon on how social marketing is something that we all need to be aware of and utilize. There were also other joint sessions on Trends in Market Design by Fidel Delgado from the USDA and a panel discussion on ways to "green our markets" reducing energy usage and strategies to reduce and reuse a market's waste stream.
Retail sessions focused on topics such as: how to conduct a market feasilibity study, special events as marketing tools, how market research can improve your market and how the trend towards all things local can benefit our operations.
Wholesale attendees heard speakers on areas including: managing a wholesale market in challenging economic times, lessons from a new market, the story of the development of the Columbia, South Carolina market and the new Philadelphia Market, and how wholesale markets can respond and prosper in response to the local food movement as well as rousing roundtables.
Attendees were also treated to a bhind the scenes tour of the Dallas Farmers Market by Janel and her staff which included a frank discussion of both successes and challenges, and a tour of the cleanest wholesale distribution operation many of the delgates had ever seen. The highlight of the off-site day for this facility focused group, was a tour of the new Dallas Cowboys' Football Stadium. A look at their state of the art systems and innovative approaches to designing and operating a large multi-facted and multi-use facility, provided a number of new approaches for addressing similar challenges in the design of market facilities.
Conference sponsors included CHEP Corporation, who was recognized with the William J. Mulligan Sr. award for special service to NAPMM for their many years of support, the Philadelphia Regional Produce Market, Pike Place Market, the Maryland Food Center Authority and, of course, our hosts, the Dallas Farmes Market. The conference would not have been possible without their support.
At the closing dinner, Deb Churchill was named "Market Manager of the Year" in recognition of her leadership at The City Market in Kansas City.
Kudos to everyone involved with putting together and executing a memorable, information packed conference. The bar has been set high for next year's host, The Columbia State Farmers Market in Columbia, South Carolina.
2010 Dallas Conference Presentations/Schedule
Opening President's Reception
Harnessing Food & Consumer Trends That Impact Farmesr Markets - Kim Pierce, Dallas Journalist