Ohio State Announces New Public-Private Partnership to Enhance Ohio MarketMaker


COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio food producers and buyers will soon have access to a newly enhanced and expanded web-based resource with food industry-related information that links producers to potential customers thanks to a new partnership announced today by Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

The partnership is a new global licensing agreement with Ohio State and Riverside Research, a New York-based nonprofit scientific research company. The agreement calls for Riverside Research to invest in additional research and development to expand the capabilities of the Ohio MarketMaker program to reach new markets, said Julie Fox, direct marketing specialist with the Ohio State University South Centers, the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, and OSU Extension.  

OSU Extension and OARDC are the outreach and research arms, respectively, of the college. The South Centers are also a part of the college.

MarketMaker, http://www.ohiomarketmaker.com, is one of the largest databases of searchable food industry-related information in the country, currently linking producers and consumers in 19 states plus the District of Columbia. Ohio State provides leadership for the Ohio MarketMaker program, which allows Ohio food producers, including farmers, fisheries, agritourism sites, farmers markets, community supported agriculture groups, food banks and others to find and connect with local wholesale buyers and consumers, Fox said.

The site also provides market research data and search functionality to help producers identify potential markets, she said.

“Ohio State will continue to work with local and statewide partners to further develop MarketMaker to serve the needs of those who are involved with Ohio’s No. 1 industry -- food and agriculture,” Fox said. “Now more than ever there is significant demand for local and regional foods, and MarketMaker is an efficient and dynamic way to make connections.”

The site, which is free and accessible to all Ohioans, allows users to make connections in the food industry using a searchable database of agriculture- and food-related businesses. The site offers food businesses a customized business profile, and includes a buy/sell forum where users can list items for sale and find items for sale, as well as a database of consumer demographics, business listings and food consumption data to help businesses create marketing plans, Fox said.

“Addressing the food and nutritional needs of a growing global population is a significant challenge,” Richard Annas, president of Riverside Research, said. “We will apply our corporate strengths in information sciences with Ohio State and the entire MarketMaker partner network to address this challenge and make meaningful contributions to the solution.”

Riverside Research is the ideal partner for MarketMaker, said Darlene Knipe, co-founder and director of the National MarketMaker Program, said Riverside Research is the ideal partner for the program.

“The company has great experience and expertise in information systems, a long-standing commitment to the greater good, and a high-integrity business culture,” Knipe said. “These qualities are critical to the future expansion of MarketMaker and realizing its great potential.”

The new partnership will allow Riverside to use its technology and vision to add new features and functions to Ohio MarketMaker that will better serve Ohio’s food producers, buyers and everyone in between, Fox said.

“In today’s world, it’s not just one person connecting with one person, but multiple connections that make things happens,” she said. “So whether it is a consumer looking through the local food directory on Ohio MarketMaker to find a winery, a local food restaurant or farmers market, or a buyer looking for producers who have the type of product they are looking for, Ohio MarketMaker is there to make those connections, which strengthens Ohio’s economy.”

Founding Ohio MarketMaker partners include OSU Extension, Ohio Department of Agriculture, the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, the Ohio Grape Industries Committee and the Center for Innovative Food Technology.

Tracy Turner
For more information, contact: 

Julie Fox
740-289-2071, ext. 225