LONDON, Ohio -- Ohio MarketMaker, which launched earlier this year, is making it easier for buyers and sellers within Ohio's food supply chain to connect and build relationships. Visitors to this year's Farm Science Review can learn more about MarketMaker, how it works, and how the new tool can assist them with their business.
Julie Fox, direct marketing and tourism development specialist for Ohio State University South Centers at Piketon, will present "Connecting with Food Buyers with MarketMaker" at noon on Sept. 18 at the Small Farm Center.
Farm Science Review will be held Sept. 16-18 at the Molly Caren Agricultural Center in London, Ohio.
MarketMaker is a free Web-based resource that connects farmers with food retailers, grocery stores, processors, caterers, chefs and other food supply chain contacts. With Ohio MarketMaker, buyers and sellers have access to hundreds of food producers and wineries.
"Since the site launched earlier this year, we've had over 300,000 hits," said Fox. "People are using MarketMaker to find sources of locally grown food, to explore demographics of different Ohio communities, to locate contacts of food buyers, and to make connections through the buyer/seller forum."
Ohio MarketMaker is part of a national network of state Web sites that boasts one of the most extensive collections of searchable food industry-related data in the country -- categorized by buyers, sellers, location and other demographic information.
The concept to converge a variety of related databases into one Web site and to summarize the information by using clickable maps originally came from collaboration between University of Illinois Extension and its state partners. In addition to Ohio, other states supporting MarketMaker include Nebraska, Iowa, Michigan, Indiana, New York, Kentucky, Mississippi and Georgia.
Purdue University, which is partnering with Ohio State University at Farm Science Review, will also have information about Indiana's MarketMaker program. Visitors can find information about the program, as well as observe live demonstrations on the use of MarketMaker at the Small Farm Center.
Ohio MarketMaker is supported through the collaboration of Ohio State University Extension, the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, Ohio Department of Agriculture, Ohio Farm Bureau and the Center for Innovative Food Technology.
Farm Science Review is sponsored by the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. It attracts upwards of 140,000 visitors from all over the country and Canada, who come for three days to peruse 4,000 product lines from 600 commercial exhibitors, and learn the latest in agricultural research, conservation, family and nutrition, and gardening and landscape.
Tickets are $8 at the gate or $5 in advance when purchased from county offices of OSU Extension or participating agribusinesses. Children 5 and younger are admitted free. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 16-17 and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 18.
For more information, log on to http://fsr.osu.edu.