Riverside Research and University of Illinois Ink Global Licensing Agreement for MarketMaker


URBANA, IL – November 21, 2013 – Riverside Research, a not-for-profit company with facilities in Champaign, signed a global licensing agreement with the University of Illinois for the exclusive rights to MarketMaker, a web-based information and communication resource designed to revolutionize the food supply chain. MarketMaker is one of the largest databases of searchable, food industry-related information in the country, currently linking producers and consumers in 19 states plus the District of Columbia. As the exclusive licensee, Riverside Research plans to invest in additional research and development to expand MarketMaker’s capabilities to new markets and regions, both nationally and globally.

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2013 Farm Credit National Food MarketMaker Award Winners Announced


Michigan MarketMaker was honored by Farm Credit with the 2013 National MarketMaker Innovation Award. Their program,Using MI MarketMaker to Expand the Impact of Michigan Food Banks,”was presented the award at the National Value Added Agriculture Conference in Rogers, AR on May 20, 2013.

Farm Credit contributed incentive cash awards for the winner and runners-up to use to improve their MarketMaker programs.

The Food Bank Council of Michigan uses MI MarketMaker to source produce from producers willing to supply local food banks, pantries, and regional supporting distribution warehouses. Farms identified through MI MarketMaker provided over 1.2 million pounds of produce in 2011. As a result, MarketMaker enhanced business profile capabilities to include Food Banks as a separate, searchable category.

First runner up went to Iowa MarketMaker for their program,“Employment Opportunities-MarketMaker Job Board”.This program resulted in a new job board posting service on the Iowa MarketMaker Buy & Sell Forum allowing producers and businesses to find seasonal and full time labor in the food value chain. It also created a new partnership with Iowa Work Force Development and US Jobs Bank.

New York MarketMaker took second runner up for “Developing New Markets and Interests for Rural Producers and Processors”.NY MarketMaker created new urban markets for producers, processors, food service providers, and faith-based organizations. They successfully developed two faith-based food hubs with a network of 20 additional churches which will expand in all five boroughs in 2013. These efforts resulted in Faith-Based Organizations being added to the Buyer profile on National MarketMaker.

Representing Farm Credit at the awards was Gary Matteson, Vice President of Young, Beginning, Small Farmer Programs and Outreach. “Farm Credit is proud to recognize the resourcefulness of each MarketMaker program and looks forward to seeing other states benefit from these great ideas. Special congratulations to Michigan, Iowa, and New York for their support of MarketMaker’s goal to connect producers to markets and improve consumer’s access to fresh, healthy, local foods.”

MarketMaker is hosted and maintained by University of Illinois and is guided by an advisory board made up of representatives from among participating partner states. There is no charge associated with having a business listed on the site or to search the site for information.

For more information about MarketMaker, contact Darlene Knipe (309-757-9077;

MarketMaker designed to help farmers find markets


AgriNews field editor Martha Blum

The National Food MarketMaker Program is a virtual supply chain to help farmers sell their products at a premium price.

“Our goal is to get enough people to sign up so it becomes a community where trade can take place,” explained Darlene Knipe, University of Illinois marketing and business development specialist.

“I’ve been working on this project for 15 years with my husband, Rich Knipe,” said the specialist, who spoke at the Women in Agriculture event. “MarketMaker is an electronic platform to connect farmers with products to markets.”

The project was started in the Quad Cities.

“Our very first partner was Iowa State in 2005, and ever since we’ve been adding states,” Knipe reported. “This has grown well beyond my wildest dreams. I think we had 12 farmers when we launched.”

Now there are 600,000 business profiles in the system, and MarketMaker has expanded to 20 states.

“Some of them are self-registered, and some are information we purchased,” Knipe noted. “Every farmer in our system is self-registered because there are no yellow pages for farmers.”

It is free to register on MarketMaker.  To read more go to

2013 National Value-Added Agriculture Conference


Register now for the 2013 National Value-Added Agriculture Conference!


In these trying economic times, growers and agribusinesses are actively seeking ways to maintain, increase profits, and/or diversify their operations.  The 2013 National Value Added Conference provides a wonderful opportunity to enhance understanding, identify resources and to network with other service providers as well as with innovative entrepreneurs.

The theme of the 2013 Conference is “Local Economic Development Through Entrepreneurship”.  Conference participants will have the opportunity to interact with innovative business owners, economic developers, industry stakeholders, academics and Farm Bureau staff from around the United States. Conference topics addressed include: rural entrepreneurship, adding value to agricultural products, agritourism and rural economic development. The conference will include breakout sessions and tours to allow maximum interaction between participants and practitioners.

The 2013 National Value-Added Ag Conference is hosted by the University of Arkansas in partnership with the American Farm Bureau Federation.   The conference runs from 5:30 pm on Sunday, May 19 through 1:30 pm on Tuesday, May 21. There will be a special afternoon session on Sunday, May 19 from 2 – 5 PM  for Farm Bureau attendees to share and promote the work they are doing in their states on retail agriculture initiatives.

 Who should attend? University Extension Outreach faculty, Farm Bureau program and community leaders, Rural Development Specialists, State Department of Agriculture officials, Small Business Development Centers, Agricultural Innovation Centers, Cooperative Development Centers and consultants and service providers.

Please make plans now to attend the 15th Annual National Value Added Conference to be held in Rogers, Arkansas (May 19-21) at the Embassy Suites Northwest Arkansas – Hotel, Spa Convention Center, 3303 Pinnacle Hills Parkway, Rogers, Arkansas 72758, 479-254-8400.  When making reservations make sure to ask for the “2013 National Value Added Conference” room block or  Click here for reservations.

Featured conference speakers include Joe Quinn, Wal-Mart Senior Director of Issue Management and Strategic Outreach, and Doug O’Brien, Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development USDA.

For more information, click the Conference registration.  Registration fee is $150 for full conference ($200 after April 19).  Display registration is $200 ($240 after April 19Also found here are poster and exhibitor information, as well as information on the various airports in proximity to the conference.  Rogers, AR is located 20 miles north of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and is served by the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport (XNA)

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MarketMaker 2012 Innovation Awards


Gary Matteson, Farm Credit presents the 2012 Innovation Award to University of Kentucky’s Tim Woods and Kevin Heidermann


Mississippi and Kentucky MarketMaker Teams were honored by Farm Credit with the 2012 National Food MarketMaker Innovation Award.  Awards were presented at the National Value Added Agriculture Conference in Traverse City, Michigan on July 25, 2012.

MarketMaker, an online marketing resource that connects food producers with markets, invited all of the participating states to submit proposals highlighting their innovative efforts. Awards were given in two categories: 1) Partnership, and 2) Education, Research and Outreach.

Gary Matteson, Farm Credit, presents 2012 Innovation Award to Ken Hood, Mississippi State University

Four Mississippi organizations united to produce the Partnership Award winning program, “Eat Healthy Mississippi”. Restaurant chefs and owners used MarketMaker to find local producers to supply local foods to be used by the restaurants. The restaurants, in turn, used the local foods to create more healthy recipes for patrons.

Kentucky’s “MarketReady” program won the Education, Research and Outreach Award.  MarketReady is a marketing education program targeted to local food producers and suppliers seeking to sell to restaurants, grocery, wholesale, or foodservice buyers. The training integrates MarketMaker as a tool along with best supplier practices across a range of business-to-business functions.

Representing Farm Credit at the awards ceremony was Gary Matteson, Vice President of Young, Beginning, Small Farmer Programs and Outreach. “Farm Credit is proud to recognize the creativity and effectiveness of all entries to the 2012 National Food MarketMaker Innovation Award. It’s impressive to see how resourceful each MarketMaker program is, and understand the potential for these great ideas to be put to good use in other states.”

MarketMaker is hosted and maintained by University of Illinois and is guided by an advisory board made up of representatives from among participating partner states. The National website is located at: The site currently includes 19 participating states plus Washington, D.C. There is no charge associated with having a business listed on the site or to search the site for information.


Dar Knipe

National MarketMaker

1601 52nd Avenue, Suite 17

Moline, IL 61265

(309) 757-9077

National MarketMaker and USDA “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” Compass


The Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass was unveiled by USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan via a live webinar on February 29, 2012. A paramount objective of Deputy Secretary Merrigan is to encourage a national conversation of how to improve food systems and recognize the resources that are available for this purpose.

Because of the presence of synergistic objectives, National Food MarketMaker1 and AgMRC have joined forces to expand the reach of the Compass’ goals relative to stimulating a national conversation about local and regional foods. This concept has manifested itself in exciting new ways.

“The “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” Compass has additionally become a “knowledge concept” that is instrumental in creating an economic, cultural and research‐oriented human interest story as real and as vivid as HDTV”, explains DC MarketMaker™ Principal Investigator and Research Associate, Dr. Calvin Lewis of the Center for Sustainable Development at the College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences (CAUSES) at University of the District of Columbia.

The College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences, through its Center of Sustainable Development and Center for Nutrition, Diet and Health has embarked on a program to help  reduce the issues relating to obesity. The “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” Compass and the MarketMaker™ technology are strategic to enable this implementation.

To Read More go here: National MarketMaker and USDA “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” Compass

Introducing The Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Campass


The  Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food (KYF) Compass is a new online resource about USDA’s support of local and regional food.  The Compass is an online multi-media narrative with stories, pictures and video about USDA’s support for local and regional food systems and an interactive map of USDA-supported local and regional food activities in all 50 states. With  the Compass, you can:

  • LEARN about USDA resources to develop local and regional food enterprises – from seasonal high tunnels that extend the growing season, to technical assistance for beginning and experienced producers, to support for marketing, processing, distribution and retail infrastructure.
  •  SEE case studies and photos of successful producers and projects from around the country.
  • NAVIGATE the interactive KYF Compass Map, which shows the location and focus of many USDA-supported local and regional food projects.
  • WATCH videos documenting how others are building strong local and regional food businesses, expanding local food production on their farms and ranches, and making change in their communities.
  • JOIN the national conversation. If you’re a customer, meet a farmer. If you’re a farmer, talk to your customers.  Continue the conversation in your neighborhood, town and community about what local foods mean to you.

The KYF Compass is a result of the USDA’s Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Initiative.  Launched in 2009, the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Initiative has been working with the USDA’s 17 agencies to coordinate USDA’s work and investments in local and regional food system.   The Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass now allows you to easily navigate the stories of USDA’s work in local and regional food systems, and will spur ideas for how to build stronger local and regional food opportunities in your community.

Feeding Illinois


Do you have excess produce that is edible and nutritious but unmarketable, too small, slightly blemished or a cancelled order?

Donate Your Product to Help Feed Hungry People in Your Community – In this difficult economy, more and more people are struggling to put food on the table. There are hungry people in every community in this state – 1 in 7 people in Illinois don’t have access to adequate, nutritious food. Our network of food banks can help you get your donations to families in need.

Food donations are tax deductible and not just for C corporations. Under the Food Provision in the Pension Act of 2006 (P.L. 109-280, Section 1202) tax benefits were extended to small businesses, farmers and ranchers.

There’s no risk. All donors are protected from liability under the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donor Act of 1996 and the Illinois Good Samaritan Act.

We will pick up the produce – Within 24 hours of your call, arrangements will be made for pick-up. When you call, your food bank will need to know:

• Product type or types, if mixed load• Quantity (1 pallet minimum), location and how the product is packed

• Approximate amount of waste, as a %, that can be expected

Contact the food bank in your community:

Central Illinois Foodbank, Kristy Gilmore, 2000 E Moffat, Springfield, IL 62791, (217) 522-4022 , Counties Served: Adams, Bond, Brown, Cass, Christian, Effingham, Fayette, Greene, Jefferson, Logan, Macon, Macoupin, Marion, Menard, Montgomery, Morgan, Pike, Sangamon, Schuyler, Scott, Shelby

Eastern Illinois Foodbank, Matt Pieper, 2405 North Shore Drive, Urbana, IL 61802,(217) 328-3663, . Counties Served: Champaign, Clark, Clay, Coles, Crawford, Cumberland, Douglas, Edgar, Ford, Iroquois, Jasper, Moultrie, Piatt, Vermilion

Greater Chicago Food Depository, Gerry Maguire, 4100 W Anne Lurie Place, Chicago, IL 60632, (773) 843-2607, Counties Served: Cook

Northern Illinois Food Bank, Gary Knuth, 273 Dearborn Ct, Geneva, IL 601341, (630) 443-6910 x140, Counties Served: Boone, Dekalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, Ogle, Stephenson, Will, Winnebago

Peoria Area Food Bank, Jeanette Wennmacher, 721 W McBean, Peoria, IL 61605, (309) 671-3906, Counties Served: DeWitt, Fulton, Livingston, Mason, McLean, Peoria, Tazewell, Woodward

River Bend Foodbank, Tom Laughlin, 309 12th St, Moline, IL 61265, (309) 764-7434, Counties Served: Bureau, Carroll, Hancock, Henderson, Henry, Jo Davies, Knox, LaSalle, Lee, Marshall, McDonough, Mercer, Putnam, Rock Island, Stark, Warren, Whiteside

St. Louis Area Foodbank, Shannon O’Connor, 70 Corporate Woods Drive, Bridgeton, MO 63044, (314) 227-3738, Counties Served: Calhoun, Clinton, Franklin, Jackson, Jersey, Madison, Monroe, Perry, Randolph, St. Clair, Washington, Williamson

Tri-State Foodbank, Tamela Dane, 801 East Michigan Street, Evansville, IN 47711-5631, (812) 425-0775, Counties Served: Alexander, Edwards, Gallatin, Hamilton, Hardin, Johnson, Lawrence, Massac, Pope, Pulaski, Richland, Saline, Union, Wabash, Wayne, White

German Coast Farmers Market


The German Coast Farmers’ Market has been named Louisiana’s Favorite Farmers Market and ranked 8th in the United States for small markets, by American Farmland Trust.  More than 80,000 people across the country voted in the this year’s America’s Favorite Farmers Markets contest.Every one of the 1,700+ farmers markets enrolled in the contest helps ensure communities have nearby farms growing the delicious, fresh and local food we all crave,” said Gretchen Hoffman, American Farmland Trust Manager of Engagement and Communications. New to the 2011 contest, the top farmers market in each state will receive a prize package which includes a special logo to use in promoting their farmers market and a supply of free promotional stickers.  “Winning the contest for the second consecutive year demonstrates our exceptional patron loyalty and their appreciation for our local, hard-working farmers and vendors,” commented Roxanne Fisher, GCFM P.R. Coordinator.  “The market board was humbled by the hundreds of patrons who took the time to comment on why they thought our market should win.  The central theme of the comments further validated our mission to serve as a community gathering place and tourist destination while offering a wide range of fresh produce and fruit, value-added items, local entertainment, and educational opportunities to our patrons.”

The German Coast Farmers’ Market is open every Saturday at Ormond Plantation in Destrehan from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon and every Wednesday at St. Charles Plaza in Luling from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.  For more information about the German Coast Farmers’ Market, visit their Facebook page or their website at


Plant A Carrot marketing


Plant a Carrot to build community support and market local foods

Are you looking for a creative fundraiser to promote your farmers’ market?  Or do you have another project for which you want to raise support in your community?  Maybe a simple marketing icon is just the solution!

Tom Goddu, a marketing designer for toys, consumer products, fundraising systems and logos, worked with the folks in  New Hartford, CT to generate interest and local media publicity for their farmers’ market.  In this video that explains the concept, Tom shares how the “Plant a Carrot” campaign can create curiosity, funding and support for local food growers and farmers’ markets across the country.  These bright carrot driveway markets are sold by markets to their supporters to say with a simple symbol “I support my local farmers and farmers’ market!”

According to the website, “Farmer’s Markets gain free publicity when they sell these driveway markers. Created to help Farmer’s Markets with PR and fundraising, the Plant A Carrot campaign was launched in 2009 and helped double the foot traffic to the New Hartford Farmer’s Market. Overall, nearly 1000 carrot signs were ‘planted’ in the town, while generating income for the Market.

“The cheerful carrot triangle with green heart on top is a friendly reminder and an iconic show of support for local food growers. An icon without any text, the signs pique the curiosity of passersby until they find out, usually by word of mouth, that the signs are distributed by their local farmer’s market. Pretty soon they become another proud supporter of the market!”

More information about promoting your local market can be found at the Farmers Market Coalition website or by joining the listserv, which frequently sends out interesting information about what is going on in the world of retail ag at farmers’ markets.

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