January 30, 2004:
Most consumers don't know where their food comes from or how
it was produced. People don't realize food often travels an
excess of 1,500 miles to get from the field to the plate.
And, that the cheapest food is often produced at the highest
expense to the environment, to the workers and and to human
and animal health.
The good news is, consumers who are educated about local
versus non-local issues often choose to buy local. The better
news--you can help educate consumers and, in the process,
make them loyal locally-grown customers.
Consumer education can be as expensive and complex as a full-blown
marketing campaign by a large corporation or as cheap and
simple as a free hand-out for shoppers at a farmers' market.
We like cheap and simple, and so do the marketing-savvy farmers
we've talked to.
Purchase a few clear, plastic flyer/brochure holders and
some colorful paper available at the local office supply store.
Print off copies of the consumer education pieces below and
stock your flyer/brochure holder with them. Post a sign that
said "FREE--TAKE ONE". You'll be surprised how many
people just walking by will grab a copy of your free consumer
Want to get more bang for you buck? Buy some sheets of clear,
address labels while you're out and print essential information
on them--farm, name, phone number and where or how to buy
your products. Stick one to each sheet and now they have your
business card, too.
If anything, picking up the free hand-out gives people a
reason to stop, to look and to browse. Even if they don't
buy immediately, chances are good they will in the future.
Educate the consumer and they will not only understand why
buying your tomatoes is a better choice than grabbing a few
at the grocery store, they will choose to purchase your tomatoes
again and again.
Eco-Foods Guide Top Ten Shopping Check List From The
Eco-Foods Guide by Cynthia Barstow, published by New
Society Publishers, www.newsociety.com,
the list highlights questions every consumer should be asking
about the food they buy.
Good Reasons to Go Organic Produced by The Organic Trade
Association to encourage consumers to buy organic.
Tags/Cost Tags From the Center for Integrated Agricultural
Systems (CIAS), they list the beyond-wallet costs of buying
a product that has been shipped from it's most common point
of production. Individual tags for apples, chicken, corn,
dairy, eggs, hamburgers, potatoes, strawberries and tomatoes.