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Workshop Series for Farmers and Food Producers

As part of its broader effort to support food production in New England, the Hanover Co-op has launched a low-cost series of workshops aimed at farmers and food producers. Sessions are scheduled for each Friday in March and include presentations by experts in food safety, production and delivery, financing, direct sales, and more. Each workshop is priced at $5, with all proceeds going to local 4-H Clubs. Online registration is now open.

Date And Time

Fri, Mar 1, 2019, 10:00 AM –

Fri, Mar 29, 2019, 2:00 PM EST


Co-op Learning Center, Lebanon Co-op location

12 Centerra Parkway

Lebanon, NH 03766


Announcing a new workshop series focused on high-priority issues facing local farmers and food producers. This low-cost series of workshops offer you important insights to help you grow and/or produce safer food. Whether you raise crops or make food-based products, take a look at the experts we have coming to speak. All proceeds from your $5 registration fee will go to 4-H Clubs in Vermont and New Hampshire. The processing fee charged by Eventbrite is retained by that company. 

This series is provided by the Hanover Co-op Food Stores as a community service to the many businesses that are critical to our New England food-shed and economy.

Each session is just $5. Attend as many as you'd like.

Space is limited to 15 participants per session, so register today

Jump start your understanding of food safety regulations and learn where problems lurk. Hear about ways to improve your hiring practices and get control of "wage and hour" issues. Connect with agriculture field representatives from Vermont and New Hampshire departments of agriculture. Make your production kitchen safer and paperwork easier to tackle. Talk to distributors about what's involved with having them drive your goods to market. Know what Hanover Co-op buyers are looking for when considering new products. Get the most out of vending at farmers markets this summer. There is all this and more.

Learn from pros on topics most important to you.

All morning sessions run 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Afternoon sessions run from 12:30 to 2:00 (afternoon session on 3/29 runs 12:30 – 3:30).

Topics and presenters include:

First Friday, 3/1: Wholesale and Delivery Success

Morning Session: So you want to be a Co-op vendor; hoops worth jumping through. What retailers look for and need. Presenters: Jacob Vincent, Dot Benham, Leon Valia, all lead merchandisers from the Hanover Co-op Food Stores.

Afternoon Session: Delivery Options: Expectations of the delivery process and what makes or breaks it. PresenterJames Gordon, owner, Upper Valley Produce. Possible presentation by Black River Produce also at this time.

Second Friday, 3/8: Direct to Consumers, and Ag Financing Essentials

Morning Session: Timely lessons from their Farmers’ Tool Kits for Farmers Markets and Food Safety Presenters: Representatives of Vermont Law School's Center for Agriculture Systems

Morning session part II: Farmers Market Success; The inside story on outside selling. Learn tips for increasing market sales, expanding customer engagement, and improving your return on time and energy spent selling at farmers markets. Presenter: Nancy LaRowe, Coordinator, Vital Communities Food and Farm.

Afternoon Session: Using Financing to Secure Your Business: What lenders look for, various sources of capital, the 5-Cs of credit and how to present/prepare the best application, the capital continuum and what it means to your business. Presenter: David Lane, Senior Vice President, Yankee Farm Credit. 

Third Friday, 3/15: How to be a great employer

Morning Session: Top five must-dos for all employers. Presenter: Lori Hildbrand, Director of Human Resources (SPHR, SRM-SCP) Hanover Co-op Food Stores: 
Topics covered include:

  1. Job descriptions and why they are important

  2. Hiring “Best Practices”

  3. You’ve hired someone … Now what?

  4. The Top 5 Wage and Hour Issues and what to do about them.

  5. Questions you’ve always wanted to ask

Afternoon Session: The most important thing after hiring: Employee development. Make the time you take to train employees pay dividends for you and your team. Presenter: Paul Lambe, Employee Learning and Development Manager, Hanover Co-op Food Stores.

Fourth Friday, 3/22: Wholesale at The Next Level, and Your Online Presence Made Easier

Morning Session: Farm to Institution: How to be ready to service the next level of wholesale customer. Farm to institution innovations in the New England region; New England states are supporting farm to institution success. How to access networks. Presenters: Peter Allison, network director, Farm to Institution New England: Richard Berkfield of Food Connects, Brattleboro, VT.

Afternoon Session: Social Media and Websites. Better ways to manage your online presence: A few legalities and best-practices for people with other things to do than be online. Presenter: Erika Gavin, Marketing Manager, Hanover Co-op Food Stores.

Fifth Friday, 3/29: Food Safety: At the farm and in the kitchen.

Morning Session: FSMA: Now or later, it’s coming to many farms. Learn and ask questions of representatives from the New Hampshire and Vermont Departments of Agriculture. Presenters: Vickie Smith, Produce Safety Specialist, NH Department of Agriculture, Markets and Foods; Kristina Sweet and/or Dominique Giroux – Vermont Produce Program, Vermont Department of Agriculture.

Afternoon Session [NOTE: This will be an extended session* running as late as 3:30 to cover material in greater depth]: Food Safety for Production Kitchens: From delivery of ingredients to your door through the time you ship your product, know how to keep the "flow of food" safe. Doing it right can save your business; and, Best practices when employees are the key link in keeping things safe when you're not around; and, Surviving the paperwork. Learn how to improve what you're already doing right. Presenters: Mary Choate, UNH Grafton County Cooperative Extension field specialist in food safety; Joi Purrell, Manager, Hanover Co-op’s production kitchen in Wilder, Vermont. *These two afternoon topics combined will run 12:30 to 3:30.