Category: Food4Thought

Starting a Food Hub on a Shoe-String Budget

Want to start a regional food hub but on a shoe-string budget? Join the club! Food hubs are becoming big business. According to a 2019 Michigan State University survey, many food hubs have opened in the last few years and two-thirds of them are breaking even or better. But even so, most food hubs are started on a grass-roots level and they… Read more →

Farmers Market as Food Hub

Expanding Your Farmers Market into a Mini Food Hub

A food hub may seem like a “big” idea, but there is no reason they can’t be started small. So why not create a “mini” food hub by piggy-backing off the capacity of an already existing farmers market? Farmers markets represent a loosely organized group of typically small to medium-size regional farm and food producers focused on working together to… Read more →

Making The Case For Seasonal Farming and Off-Farm Jobs

So many eggs, and so many buckets… By Pamela Monnette, small farmer in Oregon I write this the day after Christmas, after coming back inside from sweeping the greenhouse of snow and surveying the damage on our low-tunnels. The tunnels don’t look good but at least the greenhouse held. Many small, diversified farmers utilize season extension techniques over the winter… Read more →

7 Low-Budget Marketing Tips for Your Small Farm’s First Year

A new farms’ first year is arguably the most exciting and challenging. But in the chaos and excitement, many small farmers forget the most crucial element of their future success — marketing. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) census, between 2012 and 2017 there has been an encouraging trend of new, beginning farms with 82% more new… Read more →

4 Questions Farmers Should Ask When Choosing an E-commerce Platform

E-commerce platforms for direct-market farmers seem like a good idea. But, choose the wrong e-commerce platform for your farm business and the reality can be much different. U.S. online sales are growing across all categories, jumping by 40% in 2020. A big part of that push was Covid-19.  But even before the pandemic, online sales increased steadily in 2018 and 2019.… Read more →

3 Tips for Choosing an Online Farmers Market E-Commerce Platform

Farmers markets must carefully consider their options before signing up for a farmers market e-commerce platform. The last few years have seen both negative and positive effects on regional farmers market sales. Even before the coronavirus pandemic, consumers were increasingly turning to online shopping.  The pandemic forced markets to shut down. Those who stayed open scrambled to put together online… Read more →

4 Ways an Online Local Food Marketplace Can Increase Your Farm Sales

Local food marketplace ecommerce solutions take regional farmers market transactions online while preserving everything consumers love about shopping locally. Weekly farmers’ markets have long been the bastion of regional food sales.  They provide a reliable outlet for small farmers and food artisans worldwide to sell to their community. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, approximately 12% of consumers preferred to shop at… Read more →

Revitalizing Regional Food Systems with Virtual Farmers Coop Software

Virtual farmers coop software allows small, regional farmers to do what local farmers have always done best — work together for the good of all. The strength of regional food systems has always been in the diversity of many small food producers working together to feed their community. The problem small farmers have faced since the mid 20th century is… Read more →

Should Your Farm GAP Certify to Sell Produce Wholesale?

Direct market farmers looking to sell their produce wholesale may need to be GAP (Good Agricultural Practices) certified. It all depends on what outlets farms are selling into, what those buyers require and whether a farm wants to pursue the audit process. Small, direct market farmers often end up adding wholesale outlets as their farms grow. A few wholesale buyers… Read more →