RUMFORD – A free workshop, “Farm Marketing and Image Building,” will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, March 9, at the River Valley Technology Center. It is a workshop for farmers and value-added agriculture producers.

Participants can learn the basic marketing terms and concepts, the value of developing a business and marketing plan, how to plan and design farm promotional materials and share marketing challenges and questions.

Participants are asked to bring current farm promotional materials and marketing plan. Workshop facilitators will be Kerri Sands and Gabe McPhail.

Sands grew up in Penobscot and Piscataquis counties. After farming apprenticeships in Europe and alternative education program research in Massachusetts, she attended Unity College in Unity and the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor. There, she became interested in consumer behavior and marketing.

She is employed by Coastal Enterprises Inc. as a coordinator of the Farms for the Future program, which provides Maine farms with business planning assistance and grants to make their farms more economically viable.

A Belfast-area resident, McPhail spent her formative years on her family’s diversified sheep farm. She has worked on horse farms in Maine, Massachusetts and Germany, played a stint as “cowgirl” on a Colorado ranch and apprenticed for five years on an organic dairy farm.

McPhail studied at the College of the Atlantic, and her senior project demonstrated how artistic aesthetics benefit a farm’s public image. In 2000 she teamed up with the Maine Farms Project at Coastal Enterprises Inc. to launch Image Building Concepts, a program that combines her passion for art and agriculture by providing farms with graphic design, logo illustration and other promotional materials.

Light refreshments will be provided, and preregistration is advised. Those wanting more information or to register should contact the Western Mountains Alliance at 778-7274. The workshop is being sponsored by the alliance, Coastal Enterprises and the River Valley Growth Council.

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