Marketing plan for organic food

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  • Online Marketing
  • U-Pick farms
  • Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
  • Farmers’ Markets
  • Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
  • Farmers’ Markets
  • Farm Stands

Online Marketing

The internet provides a convenient method to advertise the farm business, sell products, and communicate with customers. Most households have access to the internet in their homes. This is a potentially large market for specialty farm products.

Farms may advertise on the internet by developing their own web sites or by participating in web-based farm directories. Farm homepages are an effective means for informing customers of products the farm grows, when they are available, and how to obtain them. Related blogs report on-farm or family activities. A farm may offer details on its CSA or identify which farmers’ markets it sells at. These types of web pages allow customers to see the farm and the people who work there. This enhances the personal aspect of farm direct marketing that many people find appealing. There are also opportunities for sales via the internet. Value-added or even fresh food products may be shipped to customers throughout the country. The internet is a quick and easy method for communicating with established customers. The latest information on product availability, farm news, and other information may be distributed to customers through an email list.

Restaurants

Many farms are now marketing directly to restaurants providing the specific products and the high quality that chefs are demanding. Many restaurants cultivate relationships with farms even noting the farm name and its product on their menu. These restaurants serve a niche of customers who find high quality food produced locally appealing. Supporting local farms is a philosophical goal for these restaurants.

Similar opportunities for farm direct sales are to institutions that serve food to large or “captive” groups such as:

  • Hospitals
  • Retirement and nursing facilities
  • More

 

 

Farm Stands

Farm stands or markets are structures of some type from which the farm’s products are sold. They can range in sophistication from a stand with a coffee can for purchases by honor system to a building with refrigerated storage and several employees. They tend to be located on the farm, often on a well-traveled road with good access and parking. They can operate seasonally or all year and focus on one product or a full line of products. Roadside markets usually charge near retail prices. Given that farm stands or markets are structures, they are subject to local building codes and highway setback regulations.

Farmers’ Markets

A farmers’ market is a place where a number of growers assemble on a particular day to sell farm products directly to consumers. The sites are often parking lots, streets closed during the market, parks, etc. Farmers at these markets sell their products from “stands” that may consist of the back of a farm truck or a simple tabletop to elaborate and attractive covered displays.

Farmers generally receive retail prices or higher for their products. Start up costs for becoming involved in a farmers’ market can be very inexpensive—just a stall fee in some instances. Because of the low start up investment, farmers’ markets can provide a low risk setting for new farmers or an opportunity to try out new products. Many farmers participate in more than one market to increase their sales.

Farmers’ markets also provide the opportunity to build a customer base. Some farms advertise other outlets for buying their products (other farm direct marketing methods, or retail stores for instance).

Community Supported Agriculture—CSA

Community supported agriculture is a relatively recent and innovative concept that is intended to create a relationship between farmers and consumers wherein risks and bounties are shared.

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CSA customers buy shares for a season by paying a fee in advance. In return, they receive a regular (in most cases weekly) selection of food. Having cash in advance of the growing season and a regular customer following provide financial security for farmers. The regular supply of food grown on the farm provide nutritional security and a sense of community for customers. On some farms, get-togethers with customers or workdays are part of the agreement. In its purest form, customers share in the risk of low production and crop failures, as well as any abundance, by receiving less or more food. This aspect has seen a variety of adaptations on CSA farms.