GrowNYC’s FARMroots Program Boosts Farmers’ Sales by $327K
I received this press release from GrowNYC about a program to help farmers with their marketing strategies. You don’t think about farmers as marketers (although they invented farmers markets, right?). But marketing is about looking at your offerings from your customers’ perspective, imagining how they want to see your products. With some help from the FARMroots organization, these farmers upped their visual game and began reaping the benefits immediately. Presentation in a market can mean the difference between an okay day and a fantastic day for a vendor! ~Karen Seiger, Markets of New York City
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New York, NY – GrowNYC’s FARMroots program announced today that it successfully helped nine Greenmarket farmers from New York state increase their sales at farmers markets by $327,000 over the past year through creation and implementation of strategic marketing plans. These projects included the development of new brands and logos, loyalty card creation, wholesale expansion, and merchandizing. Participating producers were offered access to graphic design professionals and funding to cover the cost of marketing materials. Over the course of these five year marketing plans these farmers can expect to generate an additional $1.7 million dollars in revenue.
The work was covered by a grant from the New York State Farm Viability Institute that FARMroots received in both 2014 and 2015 to work with Greenmarket farmers located in New York State. These grants were awarded to help develop strategic marketing plans designed to increase sales. In 2014, FARMroots worked with ten Greenmarket farmers on strategic marketing projects, generating an additional $265,000 of sales. This work reflects the larger mission of the project which is to provide both aspiring and established Greenmarket farmers with business technical assistance and training designed to ensure the long-term viability of participating farms and farmland.
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“Thanks to generous funding from the New York State Farm Viability Institute, Greenmarket farmers were able to receive expert-level support in developing innovative marketing strategies without any out of pocket costs,” says Christopher Wayne, Director of GrowNYC’s FARMroots Program. “The financial results have been immediate and substantial and the value generated for these family farmers will help insure their continued success as well as New Yorkers continued access to fresh, healthy, local food.”
“I think that having someone else review your marketing was the most important part,” says Pam Clark-Torres of Prospect Hill Orchard, another participating farm. “After participating in markets for so long, you begin to lose your vision, don’t take care of the details, and generally stop really seeing your business as it really is. Having feedback to pinpoint areas we could improve, and then getting the enthusiasm to make those changes was vital.”
“We have tried several times to get a new logo designed and the process has never gone well and we wound up with nothing,” says Kayla Samascott of Samascott Orchards, one of the participating farms. “Now we have one cohesive logo and design for both our Orchard and Garden Market and it looks so nice! We are really excited to put the new logo on all of our new marketing materials and packaged products. I’ve already ordered a logo stamp to put on some of our packaged items. We’ve got new gift cards on order and a new website and e-newsletter look that I love! Thank you! I certainly hope there is additional grants like this available to farms in the future. I’m sure we could use more marketing help in other areas of the business!”
This year, FARMroots is furthering its work with established Greenmarket farmers by helping them to implement at-market sales data collection systems thanks to another grant from New York Farm Viability Institute. This work will include helping farmers use point of sale systems at their farm stands and will be combined with an ongoing market channel assessment project being run in collaboration with Cornell Cooperative Extension that is looking at the impact of urban farmers markets on rural economies.
FARMroots is a program of GrowNYC and provides both aspiring and established Greenmarket farmers with business technical assistance and training designed to ensure the long-term viability of participating farms and farmland. Technical assistance is provided through both in-house services and through the engagement of cost-shared consultants.
#### GrowNYC is a 501c(3) nonprofit organization that helps residents make ours the most sustainable city in the world. Reaching millions every year, GrowNYC operates Greenmarket farmers markets, engages New Yorkers in recycling education, builds and maintains green spaces and works with young people to provide hands on environmental education. Learn more at www.grownyc.org.
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