How this Farmer’s Market Series came to be…
Over the coming days, I’ll be releasing a series of blog posts full of marketing ideas for farmers.
I was recently asked to put together a workshop on marketing for farmers at Farmer’s Markets.
A volley of emails went back and forth that sounded mostly like me saying, “Are you sure you want me? I don’t really work with farmers… Ok. Wait. Are you really sure? I have no idea what I’d even say… You think my stuff would be relevant? Ok. I guess let’s do it then. But wait… can you put me in the afternoon after the other two presenters so I can hear what they say first? That works? Perfect… Are you sure?“
But somehow it all came together.
And, in getting ready for these presentations, I decided to reach out to my colleagues and do some research to see if I can get my thinking together and share it here so I can get your feedback as well before the big day comes.
One thing is clear, as Bright Spark Media points out, the number of Farmer’s Markets is on the rise.
And since local food is on a meteoric rise over the past few years, it feels important that we take the maximum advantage of it. The more successful farmers are, the more people will want to get into farming, the more local food we’ll have, the less development we’ll have as farmers no longer want or need to sell off their land and the more genuine food security we will have.
So the importance of this all is clear.
What’s also clear is that farming is impossibly hard work.
Deb Vail shared, “… don’t ask me how to work in the fields 70 plus hours a week, get produce ready for a 150 person CSA delivered to three locations and go to market once a week, do all the bookkeeping, write a newsletter once a week and raise a family with 5 kids without hurting yourself. Organic veggies and flowers are so underpriced… Long live the farmer who’s reward is being in Nature all day long. Peace upon our souls is the true measure of success.”
Jason Guille who runs Sunset Labs in Victoria said, “I’ve spent some time in that conversation.. in my experience, typically speaking, the common state you’re speaking into is one of buried in work, disinterest in marketing and overwhelm in computers/technology.”
As my dear friend Corin Raymond says, “Mercy this hustle.”
Ester Balekjian commiserated that she wished everyone who attended the Farmer’s Markets would learn a bit more of what it’s like to be on the other side of the booth – the etiquette of being a customer. “I don’t think the farmers need to do more work at marketing. It is the customers that are hooked on supermarket fare that need to be targeted and made seen the importance of local food and supporting farming locally. It breaks my heart how farmers at stalls get treated by customers that compare them to the service they get at supermarkets. These people don’t bat an eye spending $200-$300 at the supermarket and yet are seen taking every single free sample and walking around with one pear, an apple and a small bag of baby carrots in their bags….. and spend all their money at the baked goods stalls.”
So, if you’re a farmer, this series is for you.
But I know a secret…
Despite everything that was said above, I know you got into farming because it’s easy money. Nothing but profit. You may not think we know about the billions of dollars your making but a farmer in England leaked your secrets in this video.
Still, one can always make even more billions of dollars… So the following posts in this series are my ideas to help you do that.
Please leave any thoughts, tips, resources or ideas that could help farmers grow their businesses in the comments section below. After a few weeks, I promise to read through them all and weave anything relevant and useful into the blog itself so that they can be of the most use to the most farmers.