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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture
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Posts By Alisha Lumea and Polly Legendre

Targeting Retail and the Fancy Food Show

January 20, 2012 |

Every year thousands of new and established producers looking for a slice of the American retail market throw down some big bucks in summer or winter and exhibit at the NASFT Fancy Food Show, which ran this past week in San Francisco.

Because of the costs of participation (booths start at $3,440, plus transportation to the show, materials, signage, staffing and samples) it skews towards large producers. As a small, farm-based producer, it would be very difficult to recoup your costs. And when you participate in a show, you join the market noise. Getting a shop onboard with your authentic product and story is better done one-on-one.  Read More

Go Forth, and Deliver – Freelance Foraging and Connecting the Dots

January 12, 2012 |

Chef Rick Hackett of Bocanova Restaurant in Oakland, CA

This week we were inspired by a conversation about local sourcing with Chef/Owner Rick Hackett of Bocanova in Oakland, Calif.  Rick is dedicated to buying local for his restaurant. “For the world to survive, we must become more and more local, which means more seasonality,” he explains.  “The more you keep things within four hours or 200 miles, the more you keep it in the community, and that you can feel good about.”

For a chef, finding farmers and ranchers with great, responsibly produced local products is getting easier all the time. But can you get what you want delivered? And what if you’re off the beaten path, or your needs aren’t consistent? We’ve gotten to a place where the mind (and the wallet) is willing, but the logistics are weak. Read More

No Brand is an Island – Building American Regional Food Identities

January 5, 2012 |

Previously, we’ve looked at beneficial partnerships between artisans and farmers, and how cross-promotion and cultivating relationships with chefs and the community can boost the impact of a farmer’s market stand. With this theme of forging connections, we want to look one step further — to building new regional food identities in America.

The locavore movement has allowed us to think differently and more attentively about the foods of our regions. Like in times past, we are journeying again out onto available land and available cultural space (whether it’s an abandoned city lot or a dozen acres a hundred miles away from our friends and family) to forge new food systems and identities. Read More

Branding and Marketing Advice for Sustainable Food Entrepreneurs: Making Your Farmers Market Products Stand Out

December 22, 2011 |

Welcome to the second installment of Alisha Lumea and Polly Legendre’s advice column for sustainability-minded food entrepreneurs who are seeking answers to questions about product branding, marketing, development and more.

This week’s questions come from Ryan in San Diego, CA.

Question:

How can a direct to consumer seller at a farmers market make their products stand out more for consumers and/or attract more restaurant buyers? Read More

Branding and Marketing Advice for Sustainable Food Entrepreneurs: Value-added Products

December 15, 2011 |

Welcome to Alisha Lumea and Polly Legendre’s inaugural advice column for sustainability-minded food entrepreneurs who are seeking answers to questions about product branding, marketing, development and more.

This week’s questions come from John at Backyard Chicken Run in Chicago, IL.

Questions:

1) are there products, like say a locally made root beer, or organic stone ground flour, that seem to be succeeding more often than not, in lots of locations around the country?

2) what do your instincts tell you would be the product or products that should have the highest likelihood of success, if there is such a category you can speak to? Read More