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Marketing

Growing Wholesale Connections through Market & Crop Planning with Buyers

  • Cheryl Thornton, Cloud Mountain Farm Center; Jeff Voltz, Northwest Agriculture Business Center
  • From crop planning to packaging to marketing, getting your product from farm to market can be a challenging enterprise. A pilot market & crop planning project is linking specialty crop producers with the tools, assistance, and relationships that can support their successful entry or expansion of wholesale sales in Northwest Washington. Sustainable Connections in partnership with Northwest Agriculture Business Center and Cloud Mountain Farm Center have created a cohort of wholesale buyers and farmers working together to help farms scale up to capture and increase wholesale sales. Focusing in on 10 key crops, the team is working on sharing best practices on growing, harvesting & packaging these crops for wholesale, and syncing up products with buyers through forward agreements. Hear the outcomes of the project that’s working to develop solutions to help farmers grow, and making it easy for wholesale buyers across the region to purchase more local products. Learn more about best practices for buying or selling local food in the wholesale marketplace, what’s needed, what buyers want, and how we can grow this model across the state.

Perspectives of Accessibility and Inclusivity of Washington Farmers Markets (FM) from FM Consumers and Market Managers

  • Samara Gonzalez, Bastyr University
  • This study examined the perspectives of Washington (WA) farmers market (FM) shoppers and market managers on accessibility and awareness of the FM.  Sixteen WA FMs participated in shopper surveys and interviews with market managers. The results from the surveys with shoppers revealed their beliefs of the cultural, social, and economic climate of FMs. It was discovered that 20% of respondents had experience with food insecurity; of those respondents, 78% believe the prices of FM produce were comparable to supermarket prices. The interviews with FM managers showed their effort to increase inclusivity of the FM and provide a range of produce prices for the needs of their customers. These interviews also exposed the challenges that managers and vendors face in operating a FM. Ultimately, this study illuminated the need for more research to understand the current state of accessibility of WA FMs for low-income shoppers and vendors. Attend this session for an in-depth discussion of these results and to learn about the methods that farmers and vendors can use to make their operation and pricing structures more inclusive. This study was supported by the Bastyr University Faculty Student Research Grant.

Farm to Market Strategies & Success Stories for Flower Growers

  • Debra Prinzing, Slow Flowers LLC
  • How can you get your flowers into more consumers' hands? And what innovative methods have flower farmers across North America adopted to grow their marketplace for local flowers? Debra Prinzing will share a new presentation, developed originally for the PNW Flower Growers Meet-up, to help you develop a fresh approach to selling the flowers that you grow. Over the course of a year, Debra conducts hundreds of interviews with Slow Flowers members across North America, including owners of flower farms large and small, farmer-florists, and floral customers at the retail, wholesale and studio level. The insights she gathers shape and continually reshape the "best practices" for marketing local, seasonal and sustainably-grown flowers. These concepts will inform Debra's presentation and will cover the following:
    • Relationship-building with florists
    • Engaging mass-market buyers
    • Expanding your customer base through on-farm events/workshops or off-farm collaborations
    • Becoming a farmer-florist yourself and offering wedding/event floral design services
    • Ways you can gather with other flower growers to market or collaborate as a regional hub
      Debra will illustrate her timely presentation with examples from across North America, giving you inspiration and takeaways for the coming season and beyond.
 

More session descriptions coming soon!

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