News Release

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Farmer, Ken Dawson will Deliver Keynote Speech at the
Georgia Farmers Market Association Food for Thought Conference

General Manager of Maple Spring Gardens, Dawson has been farming organically, selling through farmers markets for 35 Years, and through a CSA for 14 years.

October 23, 2017, Atlanta, Georgia:  The Georgia Farmers Market Association (GFMA) announced today that Ken Dawson will deliver the keynote address on November 30 during its Food for Thought Conference, which will take place at Gwinnett Technical College in Lawrenceville, GA.

Ken began growing vegetables by organic methods in 1972 and began farming full time in 1984. Maple Spring Gardens is a family owned and operated farm near Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Ken, his daughter, Sunshine, a farm manager, and 6 to 8 seasonal workers produce nearly 80 varieties of vegetables as well as medicinal and culinary herbs, and small fruits on their 79-acre farm. They sold organically grown produce wholesale for about 20 years. Though no longer certified organic, the farmers at Maple Spring Gardens are still committed to growing organically and 95% of their sales are direct to consumers through their own CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and 2 area farmers markets.

“We feel strongly about engaging and building relationships with our customers and our community. As farmers, we should be doing more than making a living,” Ken said. “We must improve upon the land that supports us, teach younger growers to do the same, and feed the community in which we live.”

Ken has been selling at farmers markets and serving on boards of directors and in leadership roles for these markets over 30 years. He will share his expertise at the conference including specific tips and examples of marketing techniques for selling at farmers markets.

“Ken Dawson gets it - he understands the vital relationships between farmers, markets, and communities,” said Sagdrina Jalal, Executive Director, Georgia Farmers Market Association. “We are delighted that he has agreed to speak at our conference. His observations and advice are very relevant for farmers, market managers, homesteaders and local food advocates.”

 About Maple Spring Gardens,

Maple Spring Gardens is a family owned and operated farm, comprised of 3 contiguous tracts of land, totaling 79 acres in northwestern Orange County, North Carolina, near Chapel Hill. Through the use of organic soil building practices such as composting and cover cropping, Ken Dawson and his family and staff have transformed abused, neglected, and worn out tobacco land into a fertile, productive farm. Maple Springs Gardens has been a sustainable, successful business for more than 30 years. Today, the family sells most of their produce through their own CSA and 2 area markets; the Carrboro Farmers Market and Durham Farmers Market.

About the Georgia Farmers Market Association (GFMA),

GFMA is an association of farmers markets, producers and farmers, community organizations, and local food advocates. Members believe that farmers markets can be vital community building, economy bolstering organizations that grow local, healthy food systems and improve equitable food access. The association hosts the annual Food for Thought Conference and works to promote and support community-based farmers markets through its membership, consulting and education programs.

About the Food for Thought Conference
November 30 and December 1, 2017 at Gwinnett Technical College

Early Bird Conference Registration is Open Now, Learn more and Register at