While urban markets can be expensive for producers to reach, they also provide top dollar for farm products. Thus, producers must ensure that they maximize their sales through effective, modern marketing. Unfortunately, for many producers this does not come naturally.
This article was developed for the 2014 NYFVI annual report. One of the deliverables of the project was a marketing guide. It can be found here.
The FarmROOTS program of GrowNYC was created to provide Greenmarket participants with technical assistance, including one-to-one business development, workshops, on-farm trainings, mentoring, and outside consulting.
In 2014 NYFVI provided funds to the FarmROOTS program to assist them in expanding their marketing assistance to Greenmarket producers from NY State, with the aim of working with 15 producers to improve marketing techniques. Additionally, grant funding would be used to develop templates and learn lessons that can be applied by other producers within the system and throughout the state.
As of the end of 2014, the marketing assistance provided to producers by FarmROOTS has been an unqualified success. Marketing outcomes as a result of the project include increased unique website visitors and social media followers, creation of loyalty programs, and identification of new marketing channels. One of the most interesting leverage points for FarmROOTS is the ability to engage world-class graphic designers with an interest in local agriculture to help producers affordably develop better logos, signs, and point-of-purchase materials. All of these efforts led to an average sale increase of 8% for participating producers.
While the initial NYFVI grant funding to GrowNYC will soon wind down, FarmROOTS Director Christopher Wayne has recently submitted an application for renewed funding to assist the program in extending marketing assistance to even more producers. Says Wayne, “Marketing assistance now represents 35% of all technical assistance provided by the FarmROOTS program, and we have a long wait list of producers. Without NYFVI’s investment we would not have been able to help as many farmers as we did, nor would those farmers have been as successful as they have.
Hopefully, future collaboration with NYFVI will help us to ensure that every farmer in the growing Greenmarket system is achieving their full potential in accessing the huge consumer base of NYC.”