Farmers are finding new ways to shorten the marketing route, delivering products directly to their customers. Farmers' markets, CSA, agri-tourism, farm entertainment, direct sales to businesses and home delivery are only a few ideas. Fun, hands-on activities include: pick-your-own, educational tours, pumpkin patches and agricultural mazes.
Direct MarketingThe Legal Guide for Direct Farm Marketing
Drake University Law School.
The guide covers various direct marketing options "as well as business organization, contracts, labeling, insurance and liability, food safety, licensing, inspections," and more. Describes who to call and gives examples of questions to ask. Provides links to state and organizational contacts and includes a video library, FAQ's, and sample direct marketing documents.
Organic Agricultural Products: Marketing and Trade Resources
USDA. NAL. Alternative Farming Systems Information Center.
The Guide to Organic Marketing and Trade How-to Publications lists references and links to organic/alternative marketing and business planning resources for organic producers and retailers, direct marketing, international trade, and small business and market development.
Community Supported Agriculture
USDA. NAL. Alternative Farming Systems Information Center.
Explore CSA, find local farms and learn about eating seasonally and regionally. Locate Organizations and Web Sites Related to Community Supported Agriculture. Review CSA Resources for Farmers.
Marketing and Food Systems in Organic Production
eXtension. Cooperative Extension Service.
A collection of recent educational and information resources from Cooperative Extension Service experts. Learn about webinars, videos, case studies, tools, Web sites, publications, articles and more.
Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food
United States Department of Agriculture.
A USDA initiative to promote sustainable local and regional food systems that will support small and mid-sized farms and ranches, strengthen rural communities, promote healthy eating, and protect our natural resources.
Marketing Local Food (PDF | 1.79 MB)
Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture.
A guide to marketing systems for promoting local food. Also covers local and state regulations, pricing, liability, branding and labeling, and use of the Internet. Profiles Minnesota farmers.
Wisconsin Local Food Marketing Guide
Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.
This "Producer's Guide to Marketing Locally Grown Food" summarizes market opportunities for farmers and producers, profiles farmers and businesses, and identifies helpful resources. Available online and in print.
New Farmer's Guide: Cultivating Success at Farmers Markets (PDF | 1.26 MB)
Davis Farmers Market Association
This guide for farmers provides details on how to plan, establish, operate, and evaluate a successful farmers market. The authors discuss market research, product selection and display, customer service, and tracking and evaluating results.
National Center for Appropriate Technology. ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service.
Discusses marketing options and business planning for alternative crops and enterprises. Provides information and other technical assistance to farmers, ranchers, Extension agents, educators and others involved in sustainable agriculture in the United States.
Local Food Research and Development
USDA. Agricultural Marketing Service.
Marketing Strategies for Farmers and Ranchers
USDA. Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education.
Highlights farmer success stories for direct marketing ventures, provides tips on selecting alternative marketing channels and links to helpful programs and resources. Marketing options include adding value, agri-tourism, CSA/co-ops, direct marketing, evaluating new enterprises, Internet sales, pick-your-own/farm stands, remote marketing and restaurant sales.
Direct Farm Marketing and Tourism Handbook
University of Arizona. Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
Covers a wide range of agricultural opportunities and business issues to assist agricultural producers, farmers and ranchers and individuals directly market their products and services to the consumer.
Teaching Direct Marketing and Small Farm Viability: Resources for Instructors
University of California. Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems.
Training manual focuses on business planning skills. Addresses CSA management, crop selection, financial management, markets and marketing, and small farm issues.
Local Harvest: A Multifarm CSA Handbook
Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education.
Provides guidance to farmers in CSA marketing cooperatives on "staffing, volunteer boards, distribution, legal topics and other practical information."
National Farm to School Program
UEPI. Center for Food and Justice.
Highlights U.S. state Farm to School programs, discusses related national policies, describes case studies, surveys and evaluation tools and identifies funding opportunities.
Selling Farm Products at Farmers Markets (PDF | 459 kb)
University of Kentucky. Cooperative Extension Service.
This reference guide for producers considering selling at local farmers market covers the "Three P's" of retail marketing: Product, Price, and Promotion.
Farmers Market Manager and Organizer FAQ
Farmers Market Coalition.
Answers questions about market fundamentals, market policies, staffing, local laws, marketing and outreach, and more.
Establishing and Operating a Community Farmers' Market (PDF | 155 KB)
University of Kentucky. College of Agriculture.
Details "thoughts to consider" for many aspects of operating a community farmers' market. Discusses market feasibility, essential government and business contacts, customers, optimal site locations, financing, supplies and equipment, product inventory, pricing, packaging, legal concerns and more.