Multi-farm community-supported agriculture programs, cooperatives and pools under a common label are some ways small- to medium-sized operations can reach new customers interested in local produce, wrote Renee Stern in The Grower.
Together, growers can offer enough volume or range of crops to attract retailers, foodservice outlets or institutions that might be out of reach for each individual farm.
Stern included comments from a wide variety of experts in her article, including marketing professionals, small-scale farmers, a co-op manager and
Thirty percent of the farmers offering agritourism events supplemented their regular farm income by $50,000 or more in 2008, according to a study by the UC small farm program that was covered on the front page of today's Fresno Bee. Nearly two-thirds of California agritourism operators planned to expand or diversify over the next five years.
"There is no question that there is a lot of potential for growth, and we are seeing it happen," the story quoted Shermain Hardesty, small farm program director and a co-author of the report.
The movement in Lake County to encourage local citizens to consume locally produced agricultural products got a boost last month when a diversity of experts brought in ideas that have worked elsewhere in the state, according to a story in Lake County News.
Food systems analyst Gail Feenstra of the UC Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program explained how schools in Davis, Calif., increased students' fruit and vegetable consumption by tying the salad bar selections to school garden lessons.
To help fund the program, the coordinators turned food scraps...
Fourteen percent of Sacramento-area farms market directly to consumers, compared to just nine percent of farmers nationally, according to research by Shermain Hardesty, UC Davis Cooperative Extension economist. The study was publicized in a UC Davis news release, and picked in the Sacramento Business Journal.
Hardesty found that farms in the Sacramento region averaged $19,518 in annual income in direct sales - at such outlets as farmers markets and roadside stands. California farms' direct sales...
A behind-the-scenes battle is raging in the Senate over how to regulate small and organic growers without ruining them - and still protect consumers from contaminated food, according to a story published yesterday in the San Francisco Chronicle.
The crux of the legislation gives the Food and Drug Administration greater authority to regulate how products are grown, stored, transported, inspected, traced from farm to table and recalled when needed.