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In 2010 Webb City Farmers Market Master Eileen Nichols came to me with the idea for a pilot project, The Market Lady.com. Eileen explained to me that the project would educate local Southwest Missouri consumers on ways to eat healthy and local, while increasing sales of specialty crops at area farmers markets. Therefore, the writing began and in March 2010, we submitted a grant proposal to the Missouri Department of Agriculture, “Increasing Child and Adult Nutrition Knowledge and Consumption of Specialty Crops in Southwest Missouri through Social Media and Video Marketing.” Here we are in March 2011 and the project is in its early stages and will run throughout this year.

What we hope to accomplish:
Southwest Missouri has a substantial and growing number of farmers markets, however the markets serve only a fraction of the region’s consumers. Many residents are unaware of the nutritious specialty crops available through farmers markets. Many don’t know how to select and prepare fresh fruits and vegetables or the importance of incorporating fresh produce into their diets.

This grant projects proposes to:
1.) Develop and distribute regional farmers market video segments and websites/social media that will encourage healthy eating habits for both adults and children and increase consumer awareness of fresh, local specialty crops available at local farmers markets and
2.) Educate students on the importance of eating healthy with a lesson plan, based on the 5 a Day Program, that will be made available nationwide.

TheMarketLady.com will provide information through television videos aired weekly in the Joplin and Springfield viewing areas and through social media marketing, in turn increasing the consumption of Southwest Missouri specialty crops and expanding market share. The interactive website will serve as the hub of consumer information to increase regional knowledge about where to buy local foods and preparation and cooking instructions for specialty crops in the Southwest Missouri.

Stay tuned for more information about our exciting project!

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