Category Archives: Software Updates

Your Input Needed (and Great Chances to Win $250) ~ Guidance for CA Agriculture Organizations & Industry Ecosystem Maps

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Terra Firma Farm, Winters CA ~ taken with Droid Turbo phone

View the preliminary results of the Farmer Survey, posted October 4th, 2015.


The current FarmsReach platform launched in 2013 with the ethos of “Driven By Community”.  Now we are asking you, our active and opinionated community across CA (and beyond), what would be most valuable to YOU?

Farmer survey results will be shared with over a dozen partner organizations so that we can collectively better serve your needs.

Organization survey results are being used to create new, shared Ecosystem Maps, showing where and what we all are working on across California, and Funding Maps, showing where funding is currently available — and needed.

Please take 5-10 minutes to fill out our survey, and win one of two $250 prizes!  The first prize will be chosen from the first 250 members to complete the survey. The second will be chosen from all who complete it over the next few weeks.

Farmers: click here!
Organizations: click here!

Continue Reading →

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:

Continue Reading →

A New Community-Based Sustainable Seed Marketplace

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Since 2011, FarmsReach has been working with nonprofit, academic and farmer partners to identify how we may best contribute to improving the quantity and quality of non-GMO, untreated seed purchased by production farmers.

After a few years’ research and input from farmers, seed dealers and seed breeders, we were excited to “unveil” the Sustainable Seed Marketplace pilot at this year’s Organic Seed Alliance conference, and we invite your feedback!

Continue Reading →

FarmsReach Debuts our Source Directory for CA Farmers!

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FarmsReach hit another milestone this week with the launch of our new Source Directory, the first online guide to the best California contractors, input suppliers, lenders, and all things farming. A big thank you to the FarmsReach community for referring us to all of your favorite businesses and organizations!

We know that operating a farm requires tapping many support people and buying (and borrowing) a lot of equipment and supplies.  Our goal with the new Directory is to give all of our members an easy way to connect with trusted service providers and to make smarter, more informed choices for your businesses.

Click to view Johnny's "mini-site"

Click to view Johnny’s Selected Seeds’ custom pages.

This new section of our site will continue to expand and evolve as we add more listings and add new software functionality.  We’ve already compiled over 300 organizations, suppliers, contractors, lenders, labs and consultants that have been directly referred by FarmsReach members over the past year.  Going forward, we will continue to scour our online Conversations for leads, as well as from the Farmers Guild gatherings and casual conversations.

Like everything else in FarmsReach, the Source Directory is free for farmers to use.  And, for approved service providers, inclusion in the Directory is also free. Enhanced listings, or “mini-sites” that feature pictures, videos, educational articles or promotional offerings, cost between $50 to $1,000 additional per month.  You can check out a few samples from the  Source Directory main pages.

Because we offer so many non-revenue-generating programs for our members, we depend on the income from our Source Directory and other upcoming services to help cover our operating costs.  So, please help us spread the word about it, and write some reviews!  Your use of this new community resource and your reviews of the service providers you’ve worked with help us to attract more listings and support for the work that we do.

The Source Directory will also become more robust over the coming months as more businesses create their customized pages. Check it out!  As always, we would love to hear what you think.

Thank you again to all who’ve supported us in getting things up and live this month.  We hope you find it an essential resource.


For more information, please download the press release.

If you are a business or organization that serves CA farmers, learn more.

Member Groups Enhance Community Conversations

We’re excited to announce the launch of Member Groups!  Phase 1 is now live.  Check it out!

The North Coast Convergence community, a new community of farmers, organizations and advocates from around Mendocino, is taking this latest FarmsReach feature for a spin, and we invite any other groups of FarmsReach members, partners and organizations to create a Member Group as well.

Here’s what Member Groups are all about:

Phase 1 – live now:

  • Screen Shot 2013-05-21 at 4.48.13 PMSet up a group based on your interests, region, crops, organization affiliation…anything you like. If you’re interested in creating a new Member Group, contact us!
  • Keep your Member Group open (where anyone can instantly join), or have a gatekeeper to approve members first.
  • Add A Conversation, and post any combination of text, images, links, or files.
  • Tag Conversations by Topic, so they are easily archived and referenced later on.
  • Allow any FarmsReach member to view your Member Group Conversations, while only members of your group can post Conversations.
    — To read and post to general FarmsReach conversations, go to Community > Conversations.
    — To read and post to ONLY your Member Group’s conversations, go to:
    Community > Conversations > Member Groups - <name of your group>.

Phase 2 – rolling out over the next few months:

  • Find Groups near you, or based on your interest, region, experience, etc.
  • Filter Group postings by topic, type, or the posting member’s region or other attributes.
  • Reference easy-to-use Group Toolkits, which will automatically capture images, files and links that are posted to the Group Conversations.  Group moderators can edit and manage Group Toolkits contents at any time.
  • Track Group Events.  Group moderators can choose to add their Group Events to the general FarmsReach Events calendar as well.

There’s a lot more coming, so stay tuned!

Written by Shanti Christensen & Melanie Cheng.

Moving Forward With New Designs!

testingRecently, our talented interaction designer Renee Anderson conducted ten user testing sessions to gather feedback on three new sections of the FarmsReach site: Groups, an expanded Services Directory, and a Marketplace (which will start with seed).

Based on our member feedback, two seed workshops back in February, and countless internal design sessions, we created “paper prototypes” of this new functionality intended to make the FarmsReach platform more useful to the community.

Each “testing” session was an hour long where Renee walked one person through the designs to gather feedback and new ideas.  Initially, we planned to cover all three new sections with each testing participant, but thanks to our incredibly thoughtful and insightful testing participants, we ended up focusing on just one section each.  And, what wonderful feedback and ideas we gathered!

Here’s who focused on what:

  • GROUPS
    Molly Bloom, CA FarmLink
    Evan Wiig, True Grass Farms & North Coast Young Farmers Guild
    .
  • SERVICES DIRECTORY
    Marisa Alcorta, NCAT/ATTRA
    Emma Torbert, Cloverleaf Farm
    Darryl Wong, CASFS
    .
  • MARKETPLACE – SEED
    Brian Boyce, Riverdog Farm
    Kyle Farmer, Green String Farm
    Paula Gaska, Mendocino Organics
    Steve Peters, Seed Revolution Now
    Paul Underhill, Terra Firma Farm

We are especially excited for the seed sourcing tool, as we have been researching and working on seed issues since the end of 2011 — with the generous guidance and support from Jared Zystro of Organic Seed Alliance, John Bauer of Johnny’s Selected Seeds, Tom Brinan of Snow Seed Co., Steve Peters (above), and many other knowledgable seed advocates, suppliers and buyers.  Renee has incorporated everyone’s input, and we’ve now started building!  Groups and the Services Directory will be released first, and then the Seed Marketplace will be next.

Written by Melanie Cheng.

Welcome!

Welcome to our new blog!   Here is where we’ll be posting what we’ve been working on or thinking about behind the scenes.  Your input and comments are always welcome!