According to a recent USDA Economic Research Service report [pdf], “For local foods production to continue to grow, marketing channels and supply chain infrastructure must deepen.”
While farmers markets, roadside stands, and other direct-to-consumer marketing arrangements are a good way for a vendor to develop close relationships with valued customers (and for those customers to better know their food, their farmer, and his or her practices), direct-to-consumer sales can also be time-consuming, and according to the report, “account for only a relatively small portion of total local food sales.”
Local foods producers and advocates have long discussed the problem of aggregation, storage, and distribution in rural areas, but not enough has been done to solve the problems faced by producers wanting to expand their operation, or who already have plenty of product, but not enough market.
On Saturday, January 21st in Milan, Minnesota, Land Stewardship Project is holding a Profitable Collaborative Marketing workshop for farmers. This is an opportunity for western MN and northeastern SD producers to come together and do more than simply “admire the problem.” We will be learning about a variety of regional aggregation, distribution, and marketing ventures, and then working in groups to start developing our own.
This free workshop runs from 10am-3pm, and lunch will be provided. Preregistration is required by contacting LSP’s Tom Taylor at (320) 269-2105 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more details about the workshop and our presenters, read the press release at LSP’s website here.
Hope to see you there.