Engaging Communities Through Issues Forums

Tool 3: Considerations for In-Person or Onl ine/Virtual Forums

In-person Forums

The goal is to find a single room with space to break into small groups. Engage the planning committee to help identify location. A less obvious factor is mission fit. A venue that supports the mission of the event becomes a valuable partner. Providing food and beverages throughout the day encourages individuals to stay for the entire event. Menus that include ingredients from local farms and identify those growers heighten awareness about the agricultural region. It also reinforces the commitment the planning committee must support farmers. You will need round tables to encourage communication and sharing. There will be some changing of tables throughout the day as people move into groups for activities, small group work, and to access food and beverages. A maximum of 8 per table is ideal for accommodating group discussions throughout the day. Visit your top location options and meet with the venue coordinator. Make a sketch to remember details of the space, inquire about maps of the buildings and grounds and floor plans or take a photo with a dimensions feature.

Considerations when choosing a forum venue:

Location

Urban, suburban, or rural Range of commute length and time for target participants Traffic congestion

Space

Room dimensions Seating capacity Number of persons per table Rental fee and services (set up/tear down, table linens, centerpieces)

Lighting Comfort Outdoor views Spaciousness/Ease of movement through room Round Tables In-house or preferred contractors Menu options, accommodations, local product sourcing Meal service options (boxed, cafeteria, table service) Beverage service Costs per meal, snack, and beverage

Catering

Technology Computer

Video projection Audio Microphones Podium Cords and connectors Onsite tech support Fees for equipment use or support

Parking

Availability Capacity Fee or free

Contract

Time to set up before, pack up after event time Date to report final registration number

Discounts (non-profit, other?) Payment due date and method

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