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2017 Marketing Strategies for Specialty Crops and Diversified Farms

Prairie Fruits Farm and Creamery
4410 N Lincoln Avenue
Champaign, IL

January 26, 2017, 9:30am-4:30pm

How Much:
$75, includes lunch (scroll to the bottom of the page to register)

"A farmer's job is to grow healthy people." - Jeff Moyer

Wise words from a wise farmer. To grow healthy people, we must be masters at getting our healthy food to them. This takes marketing!

As farmers, we are called to the land, to grow from it the sustenance that nourishes ourselves and our loved ones. We intuitively know what our ground can give us and what we need to give it for our plants to thrive. We are often solitary individuals, preferring to spend time with our soil, plants, and tools. Growing our crop comes naturally, marketing it, often, does not. We are makers, not sellers. Marketing is a reality that we, as business people, must navigate to put our nourishing crops onto the plates of our community. And, it is getting harder.

Established growers are reporting decreasing sales at the farmers' market. They are finding they must diversify the ways they sell and market their products to continue to grow their businesses. New growers are reporting that traditional marketing channels, like farmers' markets, are difficult to break into, and they are finding success with creative methods like online ordering systems.

In this workshop, we will explore innovative and successful marketing strategies employed by area farmers. You will gain skills in:
  • crafting a marketing plan for your business
  • branding your products
  • building relationships with your customers through social media
  • gaining access to grocery store sales accounts
  • setting-up an on-farm stand and agritourism enterprise
  • running a CSA
  • marketing to chefs
  • selling through farmers' cooperatives
Most importantly, you will have the opportunity to learn from and interact with successful farmers, people who have lived the journey and have so much to share.

9:30 AM Welcome
9:45 AM General Marketing Principles - the importance of branding Natalie Kenny Marquez
Urbana's Market at the Square
10:15 AM Creating Your Marketing Plan Mallory Krieger
The Land Connection
10:45 AM Social Media - how to increase reach and drive sales Natalie Kenny Marquez
Urbana's Market at the Square
11:30 AM Selling to Groceries Satina Braswell
Common Ground Food Coop
12:15 PM Lunch
1:00 PM On-Farm Sales & Agritourism TBA
1:45 PM The ins and outs of running a CSA Traci Barkley
Sola Gratia Farm
2:30 PM Break
2:45 PM Marketing to Chefs & Working through Farmer Cooperatives Tracey Vowell
Three Sisters Garden
3:30 PM Marketing Panel of Farmers Cathe Capel, Traci Barkley, Tracey Vowell

Natalie Kenny Marquez is the long-time Director of Urbana's Market at the Square. She is also the marketing coordinator for the city of Urbana.

Mallory Krieger is the Farmer Training Program Manager at The Land Connection. She also ran Lower Meadow Farm, her 3 acre vegetable farm, for five years in western Illinois. And, she ran the Sustainable Local Food Program at John Wood Community College in Quincy, IL.

Satina Braswell is the General Manager of Common Ground Food Coop. In her career at the coop, she has worked in nearly every department, including as the manager of the produce department.

Traci Barkley is the Director of Sola Gratia Farm, a local community-based farm that runs a CSA and donates at least 10% (but this year close to 30%) of their produce to area food banks to help address food insecurity.

Tracey Vowell is a former chef who left the kitchen to start Three Sisters Garden, a small farm growing diverse products that are marketed directly to chefs in the Chicago area.

Cathe Capel runs a sheep farm where she harvests wool for local use. Seven Sisters Farm is located in Sidney, IL.

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