Tag Archives: DFMA

Social Media and the Modern Farmer

Looking for farm fresh eggs? Turns out we have some... If you are in the Greater Victoria area send me a message on Facebook (Alderley Grange) and we can coordinate a pick-up...

Looking for farm fresh eggs? Turns out we have some… If you are in the Greater Victoria area send me a message on Facebook (Alderley Grange) and we can coordinate a pick-up…

Back in the day (like, five years ago) if you wanted to buy some local eggs or fresh strawberries you hopped in your car and drove around some promising country roads looking for farm stands. Some were pretty simple serve yourself affairs where you dropped cash in an honesty box after helping yourself to a bit of whatever happened to be in season. Some were pretty decent-sized stores where you could get a whole range of produce pretty well all year round. Finding local produce also meant reading the local farm guide (put out by organizations like the Vancouver Island Direct Farm Market Association – DFMA), word of mouth, or just plain luck.

Farmers’ markets have enjoyed a surge in popularity over the past couple of decades, and that was another way for those living in town to connect with local growers.

Fast forward to 2014 and more and more farmers connect with their customers via social media. Put a group of farmers around a table and it doesn’t take long for the conversation to switch from corn varieties, weather reports, planting times and harvest dates to Facebook, Twitter, blogs, Pinterest, and Instagram. The times, they are a-changing!

Local marketing groups are not only invaluable in terms of bringing farmers and customers together, they also help bring farmers together - no small feat given that getting farmers together is a bit like herding cats.

The most recent addition to this arsenal of virtual tools is the almighty app. We are developing one for our CSA (subscription food box) customers and working with the DFMA to figure out how best to use an app to allow people to access all the information on the website and in the printed farm guide from a smartphone.

All of this handy portable technology has made it possible for a tiny farm like ours to find customers even though we are on a dead-end street and only open our farm stand for very limited hours each week during the growing season. We love going to farmers’ markets, but we often put the word out via various social media outlets to let our regular customers know where we will be and what we will have available.

Though at first it seemed to me that being chained to my phone even when I was out on the farm doing earthy things was just plain wrong, I have totally changed my tune. I love the way I can keep in touch, have access to so much information at the touch of a screen, and can play music, audiobooks, or podcasts while I wash eggs, weed beds, or muck paddocks.

I’m always on the lookout for cool farm- gardening- or food-related apps. I don’t know where I’d be without my allrecipes.com app! What are your favourites? Do you use an app to track how many pounds of rutabagas you harvest? How much milk each of your goats produce? Is there a good app out there for egg producers?

So many seeds!

So many seeds! There must be a really good app for keeping track of them all…

I’ll let you know as soon as our new app is ready to go – which had better be soon because now that we have moved into the new year, spring is heading this way like a runaway freight train! I’m thinking of starting some asparagus from seed in the greenhouse this year and need to get cracking! The perfect app would already have sent me a push notification or two to remind me! Then, of course, I’ll need another app to help me relax and deal with all the pressure from the endless stream of push notifications…

Day 21 – Getting the Word Out

Vancouver Island Direct Farm Market Association AGM is being held at the Saanich Fairgrounds, tonight (November 21) at 7pm: doors open at 6:30, cookies and coffee will be served. If you have a farm in the area, consider coming to the meeting and becoming a member. You’ll get to connect with a great group of farmers, hear about current issues affecting all of us, and learn about how effective it is to band together to let consumers know where to find local farm products. 

Small farms use all kinds of strategies to get their produce into the hands of consumers - farmers' markets, box programs, and farm gate sales... What works best for you?

Small farms use all kinds of strategies to get their produce into the hands of consumers – farmers’ markets, box programs, and farm gate sales… What works best for you?

The DFMA has certainly been a fantastic marketing tool for us – we are listed in the annual Farm Fresh Guide as the Alderley Grange (the name of our farm stand) and that one listing alone has sent all sorts of customers our way. We do not have the benefit of a lot of drive by traffic, so it’s not that easy for people to find us. But, find us they do – either online (check out the Farm Fresh website if you are looking for any kind of local produce, eggs, meat… ), through the Farm Fresh Facebook page, or at the annual Farmer’s Market Area at the Saanich Fair. We also attend local farmers’ markets and have been very happy with the success of our subscription box program (more on how that will look for the 2014 season in a future post).

Local marketing groups are not only invaluable in terms of bringing farmers and customers together, they also help bring farmers together - no small feat given that getting farmers together is a bit like herding cats.

Local marketing groups are not only invaluable in terms of bringing farmers and customers together, they also help bring farmers together – no small feat given that getting farmers together is a bit like herding cats.

If you farm elsewhere, would you mind posting a link to your local/regional marketing resources? (add the link in the comments section…) Do you have a regional co-op? Something similar to the DFMA? A fantastic farmers’ market that does a great job of promoting local products? And, if you like to shop local, how do you connect with farmers in your area? I’m always interested to see how other farmers are connecting with their customers and how customers find their farmers…

Interested in learning who else is participating in the 30 days blog-a-thon or the five things Holly Spangler will be talking about all month long? Head over to Prairie Farmer to find out!