University of Maryland Extension

2019 USDA Direct Marketing Summit

Ginger S. Myers
USDA Direct Marketing Summit, Chicago, IL.

Master Marketing - October 2019

Earlier this month I attended the 2019 USDA Direct Marketing Summit held in Chicago, IL. I had the opportunity to display one of the 22 poster presentations featured at the summit. My poster featured the Maryland Rural Enterprise Development Center’s Website, its modules, and its client impact.

Maryland Rural Enterprise Development Center poster displayed at the 2019 USDA Direct Marketing Summit
Maryland Rural Enterprise Development Center poster displayed at the 2019 USDA Direct Marketing Summit


While I went to the summit to share information, I also garnered excellent contacts and project ideas from the breakout sessions and plenary speakers. The summit program highlighted several of the USDA projects that have been funded over the last three years through the USDA Local Food Promotion Program and Farmers Market Promotion Programs. The overarching theme of these programs was “working in partnerships and collaborations”. Many of the projects were in the areas of CSA marketing, institutional buying projects, and resources for Farmers market managers.

As this year’s local CSA season winds down, here a few examples of projects that may be of interest to you:

  • The CSA innovation Network

    The CSA Innovation Network is a resource base of programs and tools built by and for individuals and organizations supporting Community Supported Agriculture.

  • Kentucky’s CSA Voucher Program
    https// how-does-it-work.

    CSA farms may find this Kentucky Voucher Program interesting. It has good potential to work in our area where employers are looking to create benefit packages to attract new hires or retain current employees. The Kentucky Farm Share Coalition has a unique CSA voucher program that you’ll want to learn more about.

  • Farmers and Community Kitchens Developing Business Models for Collaboration of Value-added Products
    • Promise Agriculture

      Over the last decade, Elijah’s Promise has developed Promise Agriculture into a successful program that provides garden space to residents, produces food for their community, provides pollination and honey for their city, and diverts food waste to create nutrient rich compost. Equally important, their sites leverage the process of production to engage and educate residents on how to grow their own food and urban agriculture practices. As Elijah’s Promise expands Promise Agriculture, they are increasing their commitment to sourcing a portion of the produce used by their culinary programs from food grown in New Brunswick, NJ. They are also exploring how Promise Agriculture can support economic development and the creation of culinary jobs that integrate locally sourced and seasonal ingredients.

    • The Great Pumpkin Patch

      Farm Credit sponsored an in depth presentation with Mac Condill, a fifth generation farmer, whose family operates the Great Pumpkin Patch in Arthur, IL. Condill’s story outlined how the family converted a portion of their corn and soybean production into an enterprise raising over 300 varieties of pumpkins and squash. Their produce has been featured on the Martha Stewart television show four times, has decorated the White House for the Fall season, and is now contracting with corporations and universities for seasonal displays. Passionate about growing superior products and connecting with consumers, the family has a great marketing and enterprise development story. No bouncy houses here. Read more about this operation that garners sales in the high six figures through a specialty crop at

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