Direct Farm Marketing Conference - 2017

March 10 and 11, 2017

Access Event Centre

Morden, Manitoba 


This conference is a valuable opportunity to meet and learn from leaders in the direct farm marketing sector.

Consumers are looking for exceptional quality, safety and service from the food industry and they're increasingly interested in knowing the story behind the products they buy.

If you're interested in starting or expanding a direct marketing business, this conference can provide new marketing ideas and information on emerging trends in farm business diversification including agri-food, agritourism and farmers' markets.

Producers, processors and direct farm marketers will enjoy this conference. Discover the latest in production techniques. Hear about opportunities in direct farm marketing. Learn about safe food for your clients. 

Join us to discover new marketing concepts, market trends and great ideas to take home for your farmers' market, agri-food or agritourism venture.


"The conference is a great place to see what's happening and what can happen. It's a way to take your perspective

wider and look at all kinds of options."  

                                    Dora Friesen, Integrity Foods, Riverton MB


"Find your passion. Is it apples and apple juice? Then why not sell it direct, and be proud that your produce is made in Manitoba. You got a dream, go after it."

 Danny Kleinsasser, Danny's Whole Hog, Stony Mountain MB
2017 Manitoba Direct Farm Marketing Conference
 Event Schedule
Friday, March 10, 2017
9:00     Registration (coffee / juice / muffins)
9:30     Keynote Speaker – Mark Evans
10:45   Break / Tradeshow
11:15   Social Media – Susie Erjavec Parker
12:15   Lunch / Tradeshow
1:15      Select-A-Session
              A   Delivering Your Story
              B    Sweet Research Initiatives and Updates
              C    Growing Organic – It’s Not That Hard
2:30      Break / Tradeshow
3:00      Select-A-Session
              A   Creating a Space to Thrive in the Province
              B    What Works on Our Farms
              C    New Frontiers in Meat Marketing
4:30      DFM AGM / Tradeshow / Cash Bar
4:40 &  Make It & Take It Activity
5:30      Appetizers / Networking
6:30      Pitch Your Trade

Saturday, March 11, 2017
8:30      Registration (coffee / juice / muffins)
9:00      Select-A-Session
              A   Local on the Menu
              B    A West Coast Tale
              C    The Real Dirt on Farming
10:15   Break / Tradeshow
10:45   Select-A-Session
              A   Building Bridges
              B    Part ‘Bee’
              C    Holistic Management 101
12:00   Lunch / Tradeshow
1:15      Select-A-Session
              A   Direct Farm Manitoba
            B    Grower Profile
              C    High Tunnel / Field Vegetable Research
2:30      Closing – Sue Clayton
Friday, March 10
Telling Your Story
Mark Evans,
Mark Evans Consulting
Telling Your Story is conveying how your product/service is unique and valuable.  When consumers have more information than ever at their fingertips, good stories are how brands separate themselves from the pack. Mark will provide insight on how to sell products / services with stories plus how messaging and brand position are a key element in any business.  Mark will suggest how we find our stories looking at our differentiation and how to position our story to identify our target market.
Social Media – Hitting the Bull's Eye
Susie Erjavec Parker, Sparker Strategy Group -
Social media is everywhere but its benefits can be elusive to organizations.  Susie will share how to leverage social media tools that are an essential part of any business’s toolbox.  The current state of social media, best practices, and how social media affects your overall business, your customers, and how leveraging digital can increase revenue and improve your bottom line will be addressed.
Select-A-Session (1:15 - 2:30 pm)
Delivering Your Story
Mark Evans – An extension of the keynote session focusing on the plan of attack for your storytelling using key elements to achieve goals – why we want to tell stories, how we tell stories and how we establish priorities.  This session is our ‘roadmap for storytelling’ and will show this can be achieved with what we already have.
Sweet Research Initiatives and Updates
Dr. Sajjad Rao, ACC Horticulture Production Instructor & Researcher - will provide research updates on sweet, hardy and adaptable strawberry cultivars for the Manitoba growing season. Vegetable growers and gardeners will be updated on the potential of growing sweet potatoes commercially.
Growing Organic - It’s Not That Hard
Laura Telford, Manitoba Agriculture, Organic Specialist - will help participants understand the dynamic organic food sector in Manitoba and beyond. Participants will learn about the organic food market, how to go organic and how to direct market farm produce and processed foods as organic.
Select-A-Session (3:00 - 4:15 pm)
Creating a Space to Thrive in the Province
Nelson Bowley, Manager–Food Processing and Meat Inspection and Jayne Kjaldgaard, Manitoba Agriculture, Business Development Specialist – Small Food Processing - will present in plain language what direct marketers of food products in Manitoba need to know to meet the legal requirements for production, processing and marketing of food products.  Participants will also learn about programs and services that Manitoba Agriculture offers that can help direct marketers grow their businesses. 
Options for Manitoba Vegetable Producers – What Works on Our Farms
Bruce Berry, Almost Urban Vegetables; Justin Girard, Hearts & Roots; Stefan Regnier, Blue Lagoon Organics - A panel discussion on marketing avenues and strategies these operations use and their plans for future marketing expansion with opportunity to have audience questions answered. Be sure to attend to learn how these experiences can be adapted to your operation.
New Frontiers in Meat Marketing
Jim Lintott, Lintott Farm; Katie Daman, Farm Fresh Food Hub Co-op; Brad Anderson, Anderson Family Farm & Harvest Moon Local Food Initiative - Direct marketers of meats are always exploring how to get their small batch, specialty meats to customers.  Leaders in the industry will discuss emerging marketing models including collaborative marketing ventures and share their perspectives on how these models have been working for them.  The session is sure to inspire livestock producers to consider new ways to grow their businesses to compliment their current marketing plans.  
Make It & Take It Activity (Fri 4:40 & 5:40 pm)
*Pre-registration at the event will be required*
 Join Getty Stewart as she illustrates how easy, fun, cost-effective and practical it can be to create an experience for your enterprise that will leave visitors fulfilled and wanting to share their experience with others.            
This two-day conference is a great way to promote your products and services as well as your business.  Use a tradeshow table to raise awareness, receive feedback and get your name out there. Table space is available to registrants of the conference at a cost of $25 per table. Call Manitoba Agriculture at 204-822-5461 or
Pitch Your Trade (Friday 6:30 pm)
All trade show displayers will participate in a session to do a speed pitch of their services / products providing an opportunity to network with all conference participants.
Saturday, March 11
Select-A-Session (9:00 - 10:15 am)
Local on the Menu
Chef Gordon Leighton-Bailey - A well travelled and experienced chef, Gordon will share his thoughts on buying local, what it means for business, what he looks for in local food and how everyone benefits with producers, chefs and consumer partnerships.
A West Coast Tale
Patrick Murphy, Vista D’oro Farms and Winery –
The Lower Mainland of BC is a hub of direct farm marketing activity.  This farm family’s direct farm marketing business in BC produces and processes heritage orchard fruits and vinifera grapes.  They have complimented direct farm market sales by accessing export markets with their hand-crafted, artisanal products.  Learn from his experiences in seizing opportunity.
The Real Dirt on Farming
Myrna Grahn, Food and Farm Discovery Centre (FFDC) - Learn how to answer those tough questions through conversation and through social media. Hear how the FFDC educates its visitors on issues that matter to consumers and producers alike.
Select-A-Session (10:45 am - 12:00 pm)
Building Bridges
Jenny Dupas, Eastman Tourism; Mark Humphries, Westwood Ranch; Patrick Murphy, Vista D’oro Farms & Winery; Lydia Carpenter, Luna Field Farm - Discussion on the unique farm landscapes these businesses bring to the table and ideas the opportunities agritourism can offer through partnering and collaboration.
Beekeeping for Fun and Profit - Part “Bee”
Rhéal Lafrenière, Manitoba Agriculture, Provincial Apiaristback by popular demand, Rhéal will cover the important fundamentals of beekeeping. Part “Bee” will focus on self-sustainability; raising your own queens: splitting hives to grow your beekeeping operation; and preparing hives for wintering. 
Holistic Management 101
Pam Iwanchysko, Manitoba Agriculture, Farm Production Specialist - Learn how producers in Manitoba are embracing Holistic Management (HM) into their operations. Learn about where it has led them, the national HM Conference, its evolution, and how HM Canada has helped  strengthen business, produce healthier food and protect the environment.
Select-A-Session (1:15 - 2:30 pm)
Direct Farm Manitoba
Phil Veldhuis, President of the Direct Farm Manitoba (DFM) Association will provide an update as to what has been happening over the last year and what is coming up for the group and its membership.  This session will provide information on the benefits of being a DFM member.
Grower Profile
Beth Connery – Connery’s Riverdale Farms Ltd. –
From growing up on a mixed farm of cattle, grain and sugar beets to working on a research farm, and now owning an operation with over 650 acres in berries and vegetables - join Beth as she talks about not only the challenges but the excitement of farming life.  
High Tunnel / Field Vegetable Research Results
Tom Gonsalves, Manitoba Agriculture, Vegetable Crop Specialist – will share the results from Manitoba Vegetable Research Trials; a summary of two years of data from the High Tunnel; using raised beds in vegetable production and their benefits; 2016 Horticulture School summary and a look to 2017.
Closing – Social Licence (2:30 PM)
Sue Clayton Ag-in-the-Classroom-Manitoba - Sue will discuss the social license concept; make the connection between direct marketers and the consumer and how they can use that to their advantage. She will give a heads up on what is happening in the country and what role direct marketers could and should plan for their benefit and the benefit of the industry and consumer.

Registation:  2017 Direct Farm Marketing Conference - Register Here

For more information:

Business Development Specialist
This conference is brought to you in partnership with the Prairie Fruit Growers Association and supported by the Direct Farm Manitoba.