By Michele F. Mihaljevich
LONDON, Ohio – A marketplace pavilion highlighting locally made products will open at Farm Science Review (FSR) in 2022, but attendees at this year’s event can get a sneak peek of what’s to come.
The pilot marketplace pavilion at FSR this year will feature five vendors, including those marketing jams, jellies, salsas and wooden farm toys. The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association, which promotes organic and sustainable farming, will also have a booth.
The 2021 marketplace will be in the small farms information tent. In 2022 – FSR’s 60th anniversary – the marketplace will be in a standalone tent. Organizers hope to have a couple dozen vendors next year, said Nick Zachrich, FSR manager.
The purpose of the pavilion is to allow businesses to network with each other and market their products to the public, he noted.
“The goal is to provide opportunities for businesses marketing to or involved in agriculture,” Zachrich explained. “These are businesses that don’t fit into the usual commercial exhibitors at FSR. They’re not supplying services or equipment farmers could use. The goal is to make sure people know these products exist.”
Zachrich expects that marketplace vendors will display their products and some may offer samples or have products to sell.
Participants in Ohio Proud or Indiana Grown, which promote locally produced or grown products, are the types of businesses FSR would like to see take advantage of the marketplace pavilion, he said. “A lot of farms are starting these types of businesses. They’re looking to diversify.”
Future vendors could include dairies making their own ice cream and cheeses and makers of clothing and arts and crafts, Zachrich said.
“FSR used to have an arts and crafts area but it was discontinued,” he explained. “The marketplace will allow some of these exhibitors to come back if they want to.”
The focus of the marketplace is on local products but a vendor can be local from anywhere, Zachrich pointed out. “We welcome businesses from everywhere. We’re focusing on smaller companies but larger local businesses are also welcome. Products are considered local wherever you are. Many businesses are offering shipping these days.”
Businesses interested in learning more about the marketplace pavilion for 2022 should email FSR at email@example.com.