Promoting community-produced food keeps small producers competitive and taps into burgeoning markets for direct sales of fresh foods. Promotion and marketing can involve unified advertisement campaigns, branding processed food, or simply developing strong sales skills for use at the local farmers’ market.
LiveWell Colorado has a number of reports relevant to community food marketing. See the Food Policy Blueprint, the Guide to Integrating Healthy Eating and Active Living into Colorado’s Rural and Small Town Communities, and the Guide to Integrating Healthy Eating and Active Living into Colorado’s Suburban and Urban Communities.
Read about the local food marketing efforts of Northwest Colorado Products.
The Greeley Farmer’s Market is a bustling center of community activity that is staffed by the city. In order for low-income families to benefit from the fresh produce sold at the market, the market began accepting SNAP benefits in 2007. SNAP transactions doubled in the first three years, so city officials secured a grant to implement a Double Value Coupons (DVC) program – providing a “match” for SNAP clients for up to $20 of fresh produce. In 2012, the DVC program drew 55 new SNAP participants to the market. With this success, the City plans to seek additional funding to expand the program.
For a detailed look at innovative distribution systems for small family farms, see this case study on Idaho’s Bounty. IB works through both grower and consumer cooperative structures.
Models: Programs and Projects
The High Plains Food Coop is a grassroots network of High Plains and Rocky Mountain Front Range producers and consumers focused on locally grown food.
Wholesome Wave’s Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program brings health professionals and farmers market partners together with low-income families to provide nutrition counseling based on personal health concerns using products that are available at farmers markets.
How To Build A Local Food System, To Make Local Food Actually Work, a Fast Company article, highlights a Vermont food hub that is finding innovative ways to expand the power of local producers.
Reports: Research, Articles, & Guides
Opportunities to Connect Regional Food Systems to Early Childhood, five regional briefs published by The Colorado Department of Public Health, provide an assessment of current farm to preschool efforts in Colorado based on interview and survey data, as well as present opportunities for furthering the movement throughout the state. All five briefs can be found under the Community Resources tab in the link above.
Farmers Markets as a Strategy to Improve Access to Healthy Food for Low-Income Families and Communities, a report published by Columbia University, presents study results on market characteristics that successfully attract low-income shoppers and explores the obstacles that may prevent low income individuals from shopping at a farmers market.
Guide to Marketing Local Food is a handbook designed by the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture to assist farmers with marketing local food by providing resources regarding direct and intermediate marketing.
Selling Strategies for Local Food Producers is a publication from the University of Missouri that outlines specific, tangible strategies for local food producers to market and sell their products successfully.
Findings of the 2013 National Food Hub Survey, published by The Wallace Center and CRFS, highlights key findings from a study on economic growth trends for food hubs across the nation
The Farm Incubator Toolkit, published by The New Entry Sustainable Farming Project, is a comprehensive guide to planning and operating land-based beginning farmer training programs.
Healthy Food Incentives: Cluster Evaluation, published by the Fair Food Network, uses available data to analyze the effectiveness of four different SNAP incentive programs at farmers markets.
Tools & Technical Assistance
The Colorado Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association aims to improve the business sustainability and profitability of commercial fruit and vegetable growers in Colorado of all sizes, organic and conventional, direct marketing (farmers market, CSA, produce stand, etc.) and wholesale marketing.
The Colorado Farm Fresh Directory, published by the Colorado Department of Agriculture, is the “go-to” guide for consumers and the media to find roadside stands, farmers’ markets, CSAs, agritourism activities and farms/ranches that sell direct to the public.
Colorado Department of Agriculture’s Domestic Marketing section provides links to major state programs, resources, and support networks for local food marketing.
The Colorado Proud website has a list of Colorado Proud companies, products, marketing services, labeling information, and more.
Colorado MarketMaker offers an interactive mapping system that locates businesses and markets of agricultural products in Colorado, linking producers and consumers.
Colorado State University Extension offers numerous resources on local food marketing through their Linking Producers to Schools-Networks, Directories and Guides section.
The Agritourism Strategic Plan, developed by the Colorado Department of Tourism and the Colorado Department of Agriculture, aims to promote and expand agritourism around the state.
Networking Small Urban Farmers Markets: Lessons learned from IATP is a handbook presenting IATP’s experience building and managing a network of small farmers markets, highlighting lessons learned about vendor coordination, training and support for market managers, promotions, and more.
Managing Small Urban Farmers Markets: A Handbook For Mini Farmers Market Managers provides mini market managers with a guide for establishing and managing their market.
The USDA’s Farmers Markets and Local Food Marketing Service provides information on available marketing programs, services, and grants for farmers’ markets and local food. Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food is a USDA program that works to strengthen the connection between farmers and consumers through education and programming.
The Agriculture Marketing Resource Center offers numerous resources for direct marketing of locally produced foods.
The Wallace Center at Winrock International houses archives of webinars on models and tools for healthy food marketing.
Food Dialogues, a project of the US Farmers and Ranchers Alliance, is an online forum that houses a blog, production resources, and highlights farmers around the nation.
Farm Commons provides business legal services to farmers, creates useful legal education resources for farmers (including informative webinars), and educates attorneys on issues relating to community-based farmers around the country.