Naturally Meramec to host virtual “Speed-Date” event for producers, potential buyers

RDN REPORTS
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Producers and potential buyers will be given the opportunity to meet “face-to-face” virtually via Zoom at the Naturally Meramec Consortium’s “speed-date” on April 6. The event will connect local producers with potential buyers.

The Naturally Meramec Consortium’s is a group of local agriculture, tourism and culinary businesses working to grow by finding ways to collectively market and use each other’s products and services. Through Naturally Meramec, those businesses are collectively marketed through a website that encourages visitors to come to the businesses and the region. The effort strives to increase markets and sales among ag-related businesses and also to make the region a destination for visitors, increasing ag-tourism.

Producers and potential buyers of agriculture, tourism and culinary goods and services are invited to attend this “speed-date” event from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. 

The event is free for buyers and sellers and aims at helping them create partnerships so that local goods can be sold at local venues. 

Local producers will have an opportunity to discuss their products and to share information about their business and products with potential buyers.  Buyers and sellers will be able to have more focused conversation through the use of break-out rooms on Zoom.  

“The Meramec Region is rich in businesses that offer quality products and services,” said Mark Perkins, a senior community development specialist with Meramec Regional Planning Commission who coordinates Naturally Meramec activities. “This event will allow buyers to see the face behind the product and not simply read marketing material.” 

This event is intended for commercial buyers, not individual consumers. Registration forms can be found at naturallymeramec.org/speed-date-event/ or by emailing Perkins at mperkins@meramecregion.org or calling 573-265-2993. Deadline for registration is 5 p.m.  April 1. Forms can be emailed to Perkins or mailed to Meramec Regional Planning Commission at 4 Industrial Drive, St. James MO 65559.

Those business that participate in both buying and selling should submit both forms, but will need to have more than one person at the event to represent both functions. 

The Naturally Meramec consortium was developed to enable businesses to work together, sell and highlight local products with marketing tools such as brochures and interactive websites. The Naturally Meramec website enables travelers to preplan visits to local consortium businesses as destinations. For more information, please contact Mark Perkins at 573-265-2993 or mperkins@meramecregion.org. The Naturally Meramec meetings are open to the public, and qualifying businesses can become a member for an annual fee of $50. 

The activities of Naturally Meramec are financed in part through a USDA Farmers Market and Local Food Program grant.