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Agriculture & Society

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Agriculture & Society

Market Assessment for a Regional Value-Added Food Processing Facility

  • Stephen Bramwell, Washington State University
  • Growth in consumer-direct farm sales in recent decades, such as patronage at farmers’ markets and farm stands, has created high-value market opportunities for small, medium and entry-level farmers to establish farm businesses. However, the emergence of enterprises with competing value-propositions, such as large-scale organic operations and ‘natural’ product lines among grocery retailers, combined with consumer preference shifts, have in many instances made it difficult for farmers to establish and grow consumer-direct relationships. This has led some regional food system workers to examine opportunities to augment the consumer-direct marketing model with more complex value chains. In this study we evaluate markets for a community-based food processing facility in the south Puget Sound region. We evaluate and quantify demand for organic, origin identified processed produce (frozen or pickled) among (1) existing farm-direct customers, (2) farmers’ market shoppers, and (3) institutional buyers. This study provides information on the potential to expand high-value markets by increasing year round sales, and providing customers with new, readily prepared products that may better fit their food preparation preferences. The market data produced by this study will allow the community (farmers, entrepreneurs, investors, and food system workers) to evaluate the potential of a food processing facility in south Puget Sound. 

Farming and Mental Health

  • Lindsey Nickell, LMHC
  • A short lecture and group session focusing on strategies that a beginning, intermediate or seasoned farmer can use to help maintain good mental health in the face of the challenges of farming. Information regarding statistics about anxiety and depression related to uncertainty in farming will be shared. 

True Cost of Food

  • Anne Schwartz, Blue Heron Farm
  • In June of 2018, Anne Schwartz, a long-time Advisory Council member of WSU Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources (CSANR) launched a web page on the CSANR website. In this session, Anne will take us on a tour of some of the resources that have been developed by non-governmental organizations, university programs and courses, government agencies and consulting businesses to address the inadequacies of economic valuations from the impact of industry and resource use.  She will also share part of the conversation that is being explored by engaged members of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements.
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