Marketing & Sales Series: Pt 5 ~ Tips to Improve your Brand and Market Value

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Today, our Marketing & Sales series continues with tips on how to think about your brand strategy. We’ll walk you through the basic process of creating a brand by identifying your audience and the messages you want them to receive about your farm business.

Whether you’re new or experienced with the idea of branding, it’s incredibly valuable to create a brand for your farm that stands out in the marketplace and to periodically assess the appeal of your brand with your customers. These tips will also help you think about your big picture marketing strategy and how to eloquently talk with your customers about what you do and how you do it.


This feature was excerpted from the Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture’s (CISA) Marketing 101 Manual. Since 1993, CISA has been working to strengthen the connections between farms and the community, by creating and running programs that link farmers, community members, and markets. 

What is a Brand?

The most basic component of a marketing effort is a brand. Your brand is the story that you tell about your farm, the values that you communicate, and the sense that customers have of your business. And this is refined over time, so even if you have a branded farm now, there are always ways to improve the look and feel of your product.

Ask yourself: “When someone thinks of my farm, what comes to mind?” The answer defines your current brand: your brand is what your customers think of your farm business. If your current brand does not align with your self-perception, your values, or your goals, then it is not as strong a brand as it could be.

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Grocery Delivery Service Instacart Partners with FarmsReach for Delivery from Local Farmers Markets

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Below is the press release that went out today announcing our partnership with Instacart. Later today we and Instacart will be starting deliveries from the Berkeley Farmers Market from 3pm-7pm.  Exciting times!


San Francisco, Calif. – September 11, 2014Instacart, the only service that can deliver groceries from multiple local stores within an hour, announced today that it has partnered with FarmsReach, a platform for small and medium-scale farms to access the products, support and services they need to be successful.

Instacart will begin delivering groceries from Farmers Markets in San Francisco’s East Bay and plans to expand beyond that area soon.

Initially, Instacart will be delivering from Farmers Markets on:

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Announcing the Interactive FarmsReach Community Map!

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After many months in development, our new, interactive Community Map is live! Check it out and let us know what you think.

In either a Map or Grid View, you can use robust filters to easily browse and find just who you are looking for among the growing FarmsReach community:

  • Farmers
  • Seed Stakeholders
  • Agriculture Advisors
  • Organizations and Advocates

Get the most from our Community Map by logging in and completing your Profile.  It helps expand the map and extend your network. 

There are many ways to use our new map and its filters. Below are just a few examples:

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FarmsReach Newsletter ~ September 3, 2014

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Check out our latest newsletter! Topics in this edition:

To receive member newsletters, all you have to do is Join! It’s free and takes 1 minute!

Note: If you’re not in the agriculture industry, please sign up for our general newsletter.

Marketing & Sales Series: Pt 4 ~ Mobile POS Payment Options for Your Customers

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Square mobile device

Have you considered turning your smartphone or tablet into a cash register when you’re selling at the farmers market, making deliveries or otherwise interfacing with your customers? If you’re not already accepting EBT payments at the farmers market, do you know just how easy it is to set up?

Today, our Marketing & Sales series continues with a discussion of why a mobile point of sale (POS) system may be right for your operation, including recommendations on the best systems out there. Additionally, we discuss the CalFresh EBT program and ways you and your market can easily offer this type of payment system, and increase your customer base.


What is a mobile POS?

A mobile POS is a smartphone, tablet, or other wireless device that performs the functions of a cash register, anywhere there is a cellular or wireless internet connection. In just a few steps, a smartphone or tablet can be transformed into a mobile POS with a downloadable mobile app, and some simple hardware (a credit card reader, hand-held docking station or printer).

After setup, the POS system links to your bank account and can often also be an integrated component of your larger accounting and data management system. Either way, the cardholder’s information is encrypted and stored in a remote server, “the cloud”, so your customers’  privacy is protected and secure.
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FarmsReach Social Media Roundup

On the FarmsReach Facebook and Twitter pages, we post a mix of news, inspirational quotes, photos and more each day.

For those who shy away from the information overload of tracking each of these social sites, here is your monthly “best of” roundup of posts.

If you like, you can “Like” us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter to access the information flow. Otherwise, we hope you enjoy our digest of best picks!


California Drought Update, Vegetable Growers News
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The 2014 drought will cost California’s economy $2.2 billion and 17,100 seasonal and part-time jobs, according to a study released in July by the University of California’s (UC) Center for Watershed Sciences and Agricultural Issues Center.

A Bumper Crop of Microloans: Farmers Turn to Kiva Zip for Capital, Civil Eats
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Zip recently decided to put more focus on food and farming entrepreneurs. Anybody who lends money expects to get something in return, and if it’s not interest, it is–in the case of Kiva Zip’s army of individual micro-lenders–a chance to satisfy their passion and do some good in the world. And few businesses stir passion like food and farming, especially when it’s local and sustainable.

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Member Spotlight: Kelly Osman of Oz Family Farm

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Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County

This week we are featuring Kelly Osman of Oz Family Farm located in the Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma County, California. Kelly is a fourth generation California rancher who, with the help of her husband and kids, started the farm in 2003 after being inspired by their kid’s 4-H program.

While rabbits may not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about a ranching operation, Kelly knows the value behind a good product and finding unexpected ways to find profit in everything (think manure!).

Read on to learn about how Kelly started the operation, her family’s ranching roots on the California coast, and the lucrative benefits of having “bunny gold”.

FarmsReach: How many years have you been raising rabbits?

Kelly Osman: Nearly 10 years. We began rabbits when our kids started 4-H in kindergarten. It has always been a family business. The kids started us out, I fell in love with the rabbits and we all grew together: our family, the kids themselves, and our business.

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Marketing & Sales Series: Pt 3 ~ Safe, Inexpensive & Sustainable Packing Tips!

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There’s a lot to consider when packing for market, such as food safety, box sourcing, labeling, standard pack sizes, and much more. Today, we continue our Marketing & Sales series with tips from Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF), Riverdog Farm, and Full Belly Farm on how to pack your product safely, inexpensively, and sustainably. We also give some great leads on box and supply companies referred by our farmer community. Read on for valuable tips about:

  • Packing and Food Safety
  • Wholesale Pack Requirements
  • Bulk Order Boxes & Labels
  • Cardboard Boxes & Supplies
  • Reusable Packaging

Packing and Food Safety

You’ve got to get your product to market, and that means putting it in some sort of packaging. While it might seem easier to just throw it in a box, there are guidelines – some by law and some required by different types of customers – that you must follow. Here are some tips from Heather Granahan, the North Coast Regional Food System Advisor for CAFF, on how to pack safely in the field and the packing house.

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CCOF Partner Blog Roundup

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We are very excited to call CA Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) one of our partners! As the first organic certifier in the nation, CCOF has worked hard to support and promote organic agriculture through certification, education, and advocacy. Today, they are an incredibly rich resource, providing hands-on certification training, events and policy updates, local classifieds, educational resources, and twelve chapters across the state where farmers and consumers can organize events, advocate for organic research and develop new programs. They do a lot!

Since they do such great work, today we want to highlight the valuable resources and articles in their blog. Read on and enjoy this roundup of thought-provoking and practical features from CCOF!


Meet the First Recipients of the CCOF Foundation’s Future Organic Farmer Grants

“The Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund is a first-of-its-kind collaboration among organic industry leaders. The CCOF Foundation and UNFI Foundation, along with Driscoll’s, Organic Valley, and Bradmer Foods have pooled their resources to support the education of new organic farmers, ranchers, and food processors…” Read more

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Marketing & Sales Series: Pt 2 ~ Pricing Your Products & Tracking Sales

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Today, our Marketing & Sales series continues with tips from our farming community and University of Vermont Cooperative Extension on how to accurately price your products and track sales.

Tracking prices in the volatile fresh foods market is tough, regardless of how large or small your operation is. It’s inevitable that sometimes you’ll be below and sometimes you’ll be above the average market rates. Thus, the most important thing to ensure is that you’re making money on every transaction, and that you are truly covering your costs and making a profit. Luckily, there are many tools out there to help you do just this.

Read on as we help you think about your pricing strategy. Whether you’re a small or medium-sized farm, knowing the basics and thinking about how to improve your systems will pay off.

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