SANDUSKY, Ohio -- Ohio MarketMaker received over 425,000 hits on its Web site in its inaugural year in 2008, connecting buyers to local foods and allowing Ohio producers to network with businesses, restaurants and large retailers.
Julie Fox, an Ohio State University Extension direct marketing specialist at OSU South Centers at Piketon, said she is thrilled with the success of MarketMaker.
"We are making connections that work in the food industry," said Fox.
Ohio MarketMaker (http://www.ohiomarketmaker.com) is a free Web-based resource for all businesses in the food supply chain and the customers looking to buy locally grown foods. The program is part of a national network of state Web sites that connects farmers with food retailers, grocery stores, processors, caterers, chefs, and other food supply chain contacts. Ohio is the 10th state to join the MarketMaker family.
Ohio MarketMaker is supported through the collaboration of Ohio State University Extension, the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, the Ohio Department of Agriculture, the Ohio Farm Bureau and the Center for Innovative Food Technology.
Fox will present a session on Ohio MarketMaker and how to make the most of the resource tool during the Ohio Produce Growers and Marketers Association Congress on Jan. 12 from 3 p.m. until 4:15 p.m. OPGMA will take place Jan. 12-14 at The Nia Center at the Kalahari Resort in Sandusky, Ohio. For complete program information, log on to http://www.opgma.org.
Fox will provide a sneak peek of the latest technology that will be incorporated into MarketMaker this year. Future plans for Ohio MarketMaker include:
• Additional states joining the national network.
• Tools for users to build a network of regular contacts.
• New technology to provide users with feedback on who is accessing their MarketMaker profile information.
• More buyers who are looking for producers.
• More producers who are adding and updating their profiles.
• Strengthening links between Ohio MarketMaker and Ohio food organizations, local and regional food initiatives, and the media.
MarketMaker 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.