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Extension > Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships > Community and Local Food Resources > Marketing Local Food > How to Market Your Products

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How to Market Your Products

farmer selling onions

Farmers who want to sell their products locally must first determine who they aim to sell their products to and develop a marketing plan before making a sale. Whether a farmer decides to reach consumers directly through a CSA or farmers' market, or by selling to a grocer, restaurant or wholesaler, producers must consider their ability to prepare, package, set prices and deliver their products when choosing a marketing system. This section will guide farmers in developing a marketing plan tailored to their operation and clientele by unveiling many of the issues and options associated with marketing.

Featured Videos

Marketing Local Foods
Marketing advice for local food producers about how to be both grower and retailer of their products.

Local Food Retail and Marketing
A local food producer in the retail market comments on the importance of marketing, packaging, and relationships with retailers.

Taking Quality and Marketing to the Next Level
Strategies for raising the bar on product quality, marketing, and the overall business of local food.


General Marketing | Farmers Markets | CSAs | Marketing with Social Media

General Marketing

Local Foods Map
Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships — University of Minnesota Extension
This interactive map can help you locate a variety of local foods enterprises in Minnesota. Create and add your own profile to the map so others can find you and your products.

Marketing Local Food
Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture — University of Minnesota
This guide provides in-depth information about direct and intermediate marketing and profiles the operations and marketing stories of successful farmers.

Marketing Strategies for Farmers and Ranchers
Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education — United States Department of Agriculture
This bulletin highlights innovative approaches to marketing local foods through farmers markets, CSAs, value-added marketing, and season extension. Each section is summarized with key recommendations and factors to consider when deciding on a marketing approach.

Organic Agricultural Products: Marketing and Trade Resources
Alternative Farming Systems Information Center — United States Department of Agriculture
This series provides an overview of legal, economic, and social issues with marketing organic agricultural products. Notable tools include marketing guides for organic producers and retailers, direct marketing, international trade, small business and market development, and crop and enterprise budgets.

Direct Marketing
National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service
This publication on direct marketing alternatives — with emphasis on niche, specialty and value added crops. It features many farm case studies, information on enterprise budgets and promotion/publicity, and new section discusses implications of internet marketing for agriculture.

Entrepreneurs and Their Communities Webinar Archive
These free downloadable webinars will enhance your knowledge base in local foods. Webinar topics include direct marketing specialty foods, social media, branding, and tips for successful farmers markets.

Local Harvest
Local Harvest
This is a marketing website to connect producers and buyers. Locate CSAs, farmers markets, wholesalers, co-ops, and other local-foods related businesses in your area and nation-wide. Includes consumer reviews, blogs and discussion forums, newsletters, calendar of events, and more.

Pricing Your Products for Retail and Wholesale Markets
University of Wisconsin Extension
This article provides practical tips on how to present your product in the marketplace. Provides tips on pricing structures; packaging; understanding supply chains, equipment and volume; and more.

Planning for Profit — Presentation from the 2011 MOSES Conference
Iowa State University
This PowerPoint presentation explains how enterprise budgets help farmers price products, increase operation efficiency, and gain a better understanding of their operation as a whole.

Profit vs. Affordability
Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan
This article examines price points for various size businesses and provides tips for keeping your products affordable yet profitable.

Sale of Home or Farm Raised Poultry
Minnesota Department of Agriculture — University of Minnesota Extension
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture provides this fact sheet describing how to safely and legally sell harvested poultry. It also provides an overview of regulatory issues related to poultry.

Approved Sources of Meat and Poultry for Food Facilities
Minnesota Department of Agriculture — University of Minnesota Extension
This fact sheet describes conditions under which food facilities in Minnesota may safely and legally buy or accept meat and poultry from local or large-scale foodservice distributors.

Sales of Locally Raised Eggs to Food Facilities
Minnesota Department of Agriculture — University of Minnesota Extension
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture outlines the rules for safely and legally selling eggs to food facilities in Minnesota, including information on proper egg grading and food safety practices.

Direct Marketing Fact Sheet
North Dakota Department of Agriculture
This brochure provides an overview of all that you will need to know to sell your products through CSAs, farmers markets, U-Pick operations, farm stands, and other direct-to-consumer market venues in North Dakota.

Wisconsin Local Food Marketing Guide
Wisconsin Department of Agriculture
This edition of the Wisconsin Local Food Marketing Guide includes a “Getting Started” portion with information about making business decisions and setting prices in the local food markets.

Farmers Markets

Using Color and Design in your Farmers Market Display
Northwest Regional Sustainable Development Partnership — University of Minnesota
This video highlights considerations to displaying your products at a farmers market. It explains how colors and their combined arrangement induce emotion and make your products more appealing to shoppers, enhancing the overall experience of buying local food.

Minnesota Farmers' Market Association
The website helps establish farmers markets by strengthening the network of local market entities and sharing key resources. The "Resources" tab includes the Minnesota Farmers Market Manual, the resources library, recipes, grant opportunities, and more.

North Dakota Farmers Market and Growers Association
This website identifies grants opportunities and provides other useful resources and tools like fact sheets about selling local food, cleaning and sanitizing, cooking demonstrations at farmers markets and more.

Farmers Market Resources
North Dakota Farmers Market and Growers Association
A list of useful links for farmers market managers and vendors.

Farmers Market Manager Training Manual
Farmers Market Federation of New York
This comprehensive manual identifies the requirements needed to manage a successful farmers market. It also includes many useful templates and tools around issues like vendor recruitment, fundraising, how to be a market manager, developing and enforcing rules, and more.


Community Supported Agriculture: Growing Food...and Community (Research Brief #21)
Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems – University of Wisconsin – Madison
This research brief describes CSA, how it works, its history, and other facts about CSA.

Managing a CSA Farm 1: Production, Labor, and Land (Research Brief #40)
Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems – University of Wisconsin – Madison
In this research brief, CSA farmers and members were interviewed to determine the biggest challenges they faced with this marketing model. Learn about the production, labor, and farmland challenges farmers faced and opportunities for community groups to help address them.

Managing a CSA Farm 2: Community, Economics, Marketing, and Training (Research Brief #41)
Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems – University of Wisconsin – Madison
Learn how CSA farmers strive to create a sense of community with their members and increase profitability through diversification. This research brief emphasizes why an active community is vital in the success of a CSA and highlights ways CSA members can get involved in the operation

Marketing Your CSA Farm
Hub Pages
Danette Watt shares how her CSA overcame the “perfect storm” of hardships through marketing strategies. Read how she and her team engaged the community and recruited members by taking advantage of free publicity opportunities and managing an informative website.

What’s Next for CSAs?
Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project
This report examines trends in the CSA movement and shares the innovative tools and systems used by successful CSA farms today. Find quick access to key points, tips, resources and tools highlighted in the margins.

Community Supported Agriculture
National Agricultural Library — United States Department of Agriculture
This site is a wealth of compiled information on CSA farms including a list of resources from national farm databases, state farm directories, surveys and statistics. Learn about the basics of CSA farming, and advance your knowledge to understand its history and philosophy of seasonal and sustainable eating.

A Farmers Guide to Marketing through Community Supported Agriculture
University of Tennessee Extension
This is a guide for farmers that are considering developing a CSA. It provides an overview of CSA, helps farmers decide if it will work for them, and lists factors to consider when planning and operating a CSA. It also provides advice from a CSA farmer that learned how to succeed the hard way, and more resources for further reading.

Community Supported Agriculture
Local Harvest
This popular website is used by consumers to connect with farmers and vice-versa. CSA farms can sign up to be in the database for free.

Marketing with Social Media

How Can I Learn More About Visitors to my Website?
University of Minnesota Extension
This instruction sheet shows how to use Google Analytics, "a free web analytic software program," to learn who is using your website and how you can improve your services to them.

Online Strategies for Direct Farm Marketers
University of Minnesota Extension
This fact sheet addresses a variety of online marketing strategies and opportunities: from developing your website and Facebook page to how to be included in existing online directories

How Are Customers Shopping Online?
This article helps you answer the question “should I sell online?” Use the easy-to-understand tables and links to other resources to determine the demographics of your community and how they use the Internet.

The Basics: 30 Social Media Marketing Tips for Beginners
Ragan’s PR Daily
Enhance your social marketing skills with this top ten tips for managing a Facebook page, Twitter account, and blog.

Direct Marketing Food Specialty Products Online
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
This fun interactive PDF publication can be used as a direct marketing curriculum. It includes chapters on business and marketing plans, branding, planning your website, social media, and future e-trends.

Is it Time For You to Add a QR Code?
Grasshopper Blog
This article describes Quick Response codes and lists pros and cons for use by small businesses.

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