By: Forrest Scharf (PAg) Provincial Specialist, Fruit Crops
The North American Farm Direct Marketing Association (NAFDMA) is a member-based association dedicated to the promotion of farm direct marketing and agri-tourism. In 2016, NAFDMA held its 31st Annual Convention in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. A component of the NAFDMA convention was a tour that featured many of the area’s top direct marketers. A summary of the tour was captured in a webinar called “Being the Best: Lessons in Marketing from NAFDMA BC” and is available here courtesy of Alberta Agriculture. For access to good direct marketer websites located in the Lower Mainland region of British Columbia, growers can access links through the BC FarmFresh reference guide.
Producers interested in resources for improving their understanding of direct marketing can also obtain a general guidance document through the ATTRA (Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas) website. ATTRA also has information available on their website, including videos about marketing, guidance documents relating to food hubs, organic marketing and labelling resources, direct marketing options and business planning templates.
A marketing-related initiative that may be of interest to some growers is a research project called “Farmers, Policy, and Local Food Systems in Saskatchewan: Barriers and Opportunities,” conducted by the University of Regina (U of R) and nutritionists from the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region (RQHR). The project is examining the policy barriers and opportunities for local food production and sales in Saskatchewan, with emphasis on health and agricultural policy. The project is led by Dr. Amber Fletcher, who is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Social Studies at the U of R. Also included in the project was a focus group composed of food processors, retailers, restauranteurs, nutritional specialists and policy analysts, which met April 13, 2016, to provide input. Producers interested in the results of this study can forward their contact data to Forrest Scharf at email@example.com; he will provide information when results of the research are released.