Marketing is something of an enigma to me.
I have been really fortunate to have so many great relationships with customers and friends that know how to get the word out. And as a farmer, I don’t really dwell on the fact that yes, I need to market my farm. I need to consider it as work that needs to be done. For so long I thought that if I just throw money at certain organizations, they’ll do the marketing for me. Well, it’s not that simple. Some organizations actually require me to give them money all in the name of marketing- not to mention any names, but their initials are PA Dept of AG. “Simply Delicious,” and ” Buy Local all got their start from farmers giving a certain required and fixed amount per year for the slogans.
Simply Delicious and Buy Local are definitely a good start for a great message. It’s catchy, and finally catching on. The problem is this, where do I buy local? There is not one single directory that is all inclusive for direct to consumer farms. The other issue is this, if there were a directory, all inclusive for direct to consumer farms, people still would need to find the information about the directory first, then review the farms on the list. Not all direct to consumer farms are on the lists either, even if they are free to list. People need to know about Local Harvest, Locallygrown, and all others who are diligently trying to compose such lists. Locallygrown and Local Harvest are on a budget too, how can they possibly get the word out about their websites to targeted local consumers? Search engines produce some results, but not all.
So I look to local organizations. I become a member of anything that resembles a networking platform, to my dismay. Not only is it expensive, but I end up doing more work trying to redeem the “wonderful” benefits of becoming a member than I can really stand for. Remember, I’m a farmer, I didn’t choose to have this profession because I want a desk job. Very few direct to consumer farms are members of these organizations, probably for the very same reason, too expensive and too much time away from doing what we love. I’m still left with people not really knowing what I do here. And so many more not knowing where they can buy local food.
I am interested in pooling together with other direct to consumer farms in the county. My idea is to get together and launch a Who’s Your Farmer Ad campaign in Bedford to help people identify where they can purchase local farm products. I would use locally targeted publications and avenues that are sort of “in your face” like the local news.
6 thoughts on “Bedford County Direct to Consumer Farm Marketing”
i’ve been involved in marketing for many years. It’s been my experience that one of the things that works well and costs nothing is to send announcements to newspapers and local magazines (and radio). The editors need to
fill a certain amount of space with each issue and rely on the people in their community for news. In fact, they like to hear about good things folks in their towns are doing. The announcement has to benefit their readers and listeners, not sound like an ad. An announcement about your Who’s Your Farmer Ad campaign would be perfect.
Thank you for your insight Loretta, and I really respect your wisdom and knowledge in this matter, you have brought talent and skill to our marketing strategy before….Thank You, thank you, thank you:) I am working on it right now, contacting other farms in the area, and working with our Agribusiness board members, and the cooperative extension to get the word to other farms. I’m not in it to make extra money from these other farms, and I don’t expect a grant of any sort. I say that because many farmers have met, myself included, to hash out plans for collective marketing. The Ideas that we had were exhausting-form a committee, getting grants, it’s just too much for all of us. I’m attempting again to group together, but just keep it simple and just simply pool together to get it done. No by laws, legal structure, paperwork, just all of us pitching in to get it done. I hope the others haven’t given up on the idea.
Have you tried this website
Maybe a fact sheet of what is available, if it is organic, or almost organic, and where to get it, that the extension office could send to those that ask.
maybe Bedford County Free Press
Great idea, thank you.
I am definitely going to sign up for this website, there is only one producer listed on this website, and I know of many more in the county. I will forward this to others so they know about it. Thank you.
I was recently in Canada and the Inn where I stayed had an awesome map of all the local farms. In our community, our Edible publication does a really good job of informing us about producers.