California Greenhorns, share your wisdom & experiences!

posted February 19, 2009

A request from the California Institute for Rural Studies

Dear Greenhorns,

cirsincOrganic food isn’t just found at your local co-op or farmer’s market anymore- it seems to be everywhere these days, from hospital cafeterias to Wal-Mart. Demand for organic food is on the rise(although more slowly in recent months due to the economic situation).

However, despite this soaring demand for organics, it’s still not easy for a small or medium scale organic farmer to make it. In particular, accessing markets and getting a fair price for organic produce pose major challenges to many organic farmers. What makes it so hard- why is there this gap between demand and supply? What exactly are the barriers for small and mid-sized organic farms when it comes to marketing produce? How might these challenges be addressed?

These are the questions the California Institute for Rural Studies seeks to answer in a research project examining marketing barriers and challenges for small and medium scale organic farms. We want to figure out what exactly the main challenges are regarding marketing
for organic farms, and what kinds of programs, policies, or solutions might help the situation. We’re specifically focusing on California for this project.

So that’s where you come in- if you are a farmer with a small or medium-scale organic farm, if you have trouble marketing your produce (or alternately if you want to share your success stories), and/or if you have any thoughts, stories, or insights about the world of
marketing, we would love to hear about it! We want to hear from all organic farmers but especially new farmers, farmers recently transitioned to organic, immigrant or minority farmers, farmers struggling with marketing, and/or farmers with innovative marketing
strategies.

Send your marketing experiences, thoughts, stories, or comments to Alida Cantor at acantor@cirsinc.org or if you prefer a live conversation, email me and we can set up a time to talk on the phone.
Or just give me a call at 530-756-6555 x13.

Thank you very much for your help, Greenhorns! Looking forward to hearing from you.