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Vermont Open Farm Week - Farmer Participation

Hello Farmers!

We have begun planning for our 6th annual Vermont Open Farm Week! This year’s Open Farm Week will take place August 10 - 16, 2020 - please save the date! Like all of you, we are navigating the current health crisis carefully and thoughtfully and are thinking creatively about how to deliver this week of events in a way that's safe and responsible. Open Farm Week creates an opportunity for folks to visit farms and connect with Vermont's working landscape. This year, providing this connection feels more important than ever. Registration is now closed.

Open Farm Week is a great way to engage with customers and your community. Remember, you can choose any day during the week to host an event, or have events on multiple days. Registration for farm participation is now closed.

Important Details for Open Farm Week 2020

Event Requirements: Feedback has shown that people attending Open Farm Week events are looking for activities, farmer interaction, and unique events. Open Farm Week’s focus is on events during the week - we will not highlight farms that are not doing an event on their farm. For example, rather than listing a farm stand as open throughout the week as an Open Farm Week event, the farm will be required to have an activity (big or small) in addition that is not part of their regular farm schedule. 

For 2020, Open Farm Week will focus on events appropriate for the current pandemic-related guidelines: tours (self-guided or one group/family per farmer), picnics, farm trails, virtual/online events (workshops, guided tastings, etc.), and social media participation (i.e. posting a farm pic of the day), or other creative ideas. 

Feel free to think outside of the box and if you want to include a standing event you usually host during that week, we’re just asking that you provide a special addition to the event that we can highlight for Open Farm Week. Questions about this? Please let us know - we can help you find the right fit for your farm.  

Cost to Participate: To effectively plan and produce Open Farm Week, the Vermont Open Farm Week committee starts planning 10 months prior to the event. We’ve calculated the true cost of organizing Open Farm Week at well over $400 per farm. The recommended fee for participation is $50/farm, however this year, we have decided not to charge farms to participate in Open Farm Week due to the pandemic. You are still welcome to pay if you are interested and able to, in order to help offset the costs of organizing the event.

Registration fees go towards coordination and planning of the week long event, registration management and outreach, DigInVT website promotion, paid digital and radio advertising, print advertising, marketing materials and promotional resources for each farm, technical assistance, and in-state marketing and promotion through the many communication channels of the DigInVT committee organizations.

Featured Farms: For farms interested in being a featured Open Farm Week Farm, you can pay an additional $20. For this fee, DigInVT will boost a Facebook post (a full match of $20) promoting your event to a targeted audience and your farm will be prioritized in our media outreach.

Technical Assistance: Our Open Farm Week team is available to provide resources & technical assistance to a limited number of farms that would like support developing ideas and preparing for visitors. Vera Simon-Nobes of the Farm-Based Education Network and Lisa Chase of UVM Extension can help you develop an event that's right for your farm and community, along with a timeline, marketing plan, and safety plan. There is no additional charge for this technical assistance, but you do need to apply for it via the Open Farm Week registration form. 

Technical assistance looks different for every farm. It can be anything from a 15 minute phone call about event marketing, an email conversation about social media promotion,  or it can be on-site visit for help to develop a safety plan and to discuss ideas for an event. It is really up to you and it ranges from farm to farm.

For shorter questions, there is no need to apply. Please feel free to reach out to any of us.

Discounts: Neighboring farms interested in collaborating and marketing their events together can sign up together and receive a discount - $150 for up to 5 farms.

Resources: Many resources and tips on incorporating agritourism into your farm offerings are available here: www.uvm.edu/vtagritourism. Please be in touch with any questions and we look forward to hearing about your events!

Click here for the latest sector specific "Stay Home, Stay Safe"guidance from the State of Vermont. Related topics to check out include:

Best wishes,

The 2020 Open Farm Week Organizing Committee

Livy Bulger, NOFA-VT and the Vermont Farmers Market Association; Lisa Chase, UVM Extension; Sarah Danley and Shane Rogers, Farm to Plate Network; Sara DeFilippi, Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing; Alissa Matthews, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets; Tara Pereira, Vermont Fresh Network & DigInVT; Carrie Putscher, City Market; Vera Simon-Nobes, Shelburne Farms and Farm-Based Education Network;  

Vermont Open Farm Week is made possible by the generous support of media sponsor, Front Porch Forum and the partner organizations below.

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