E-commerce and Other Alternative Marketing Ideas for Farms
Upcoming webinars and Zoom meetings
- Social Media Best Practices in Times of Crisis by Penn State
- Weekly Maine Farm Zoom, Fridays at 10 am.
Webinar recordings and online courses
- The On-Ramp to Online Sales: Getting Ready to Open Your Online Store (YouTube). From April 2020.
- Seedling Sales and Logistics: Case Studies and Discussion Session (YouTube). From April 15, 2020
- Farm Commons (30 min) Podcast: Episode 15: Farm Sales through Online Platforms and CSAs: Legal aspects of online platforms. What to consider when switching to a CSA model.
- Penn State Extension
- Recorded a webinar on “Developing A Social Media Strategy” (1+hour). This webinar has advice on how to use social media and mobile technology to promote your business and connect with consumers.
- Retail Farm Market School: In this multi-part, self-paced course, you will learn about the many facets of being a retail farm market professional, including how to keep produce in peak condition for as long as possible, how to display it well, and thus how to build profitability of the market.
- Ramping Up Your Online Ordering for Expanded Delivery or Curbside Pickup: Learn about online ordering and delivery or curbside pick-up from a panel of farms successfully using these options.
- COVID-19 Stimulus Benefits and Your Farm and Food Business
- NC State University webinar about setting up a store with Square (email Debbie Roos at firstname.lastname@example.org for upcoming sessions)
- 3 Cow Marketing podcasts with Charlotte Smith with topics such as “How to Retain New Customers After the Pandemic is Over”
- FACT also hosted three webinars with Charlotte:
- Farm Credit East has a great website and webinars on tax implications, loans, and grants under the CARES Act, including the Payroll Protection Program.
- Reaching Your Customers: UNH webinar with farmer panel who sell through direct market channels including farm stands, CSA’s, and farmers’ markets are adapting in a changing business environment due to COVID-19.
Articles and fact sheets
- Purdue Producer Guide to Navigating COVID online/phone sales (Google sheets, Facebook, webpage or starting a CSA). Delivery systems (e.g. popups, drop-off sites, and direct delivery). Managing inventory. Adjusting crop inventory.
- Oregon State Small Farms COVID Guide: List of 8 online sales platforms. Exhaustive list of questions to ask online vendors.
- Penn State Extension
- Oregon State Small Farms COVID Guide List of 8 online sales platforms. Exhaustive list of questions to ask online vendors.
- Oregon Tilth questions to ask of the online sales platforms
- MOFGA Low Cost Options for online sales
- Cornell Collaborative Marketing for Small Farms document (PDF): Selling and Working Together for Profitability
- North Carolina Extension
- Maryland Extension
- Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (MDACF) Guidance for conducting business.
- Start Selling Online and Shipping in 5-days: Grassroots Startup
Online vendors (from Oregon State)
National Young Farmers Coalition cheat sheet on the Direct Sales Software Platforms (PDF): Prices, fees, etc.
Additional vendors and online directories
- Maine Farm and Seafood Product Directory: Directory for local direct sales
- Maine Food Atlas: Maine Network of Community Food Councils
- Find Organic and Local Products: MOFGA
- FarmDrop: Online ordering from area farmers and artisans, pay online and drop off sites in Blue Hill, Unity, Mount Desert, Lisbon, Cap Elizabeth, and coming soon Portland.
- Western Maine Market: Farmington area online farmers’ market
- Internet Farmer and Buying Club Software with Jeremy Bloom from Lewiston, ME, email@example.com
- Forager: Developing wholesale market connections for farms
- Local Food Anywhere: Directory for direct sales
- Google Forms and Jotform: Free or low-priced options for taking online orders
- Dr. Jonathan Malacarne, UMaine Ag Economist, firstname.lastname@example.org: Willing to discuss your farm operation, current sales, customer base, and what alternative marketing channel makes sense for your situation.
- Nicolas Lindholm, Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, email@example.com: Has also expressed an availability to help with this.
- Julie Ann Smith, Executive Director, Maine Farm Bureau Association, Julie@mainefarmbureau.com
- Farmhand Automation: Free technical assistance to set up online ordering and curbside pickup for local farms that do not have the resources to quickly shift to online ordering and curbside pickup.
- The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry have started a tool to link those who need help with technology, marketing, and promotions with those who are willing to help.
- Connect with Experts About Technology: Are you a Maine farmer seeking technical assistance with a technology mentor? We invite you to submit your farm name and email address so we can quickly share information with you about specific topics. >>Farmers: submit your info online.
- Provide Technology Expertise to Farmers: Are you a business or service provider who has a breadth of professional expertise to offer instruction or mentoring about online sales, websites, internet security and technology? You’re invited to join the technology mentor list. >>Tech Experts: Join the listing.
- FACT mini-grant applications for up to $500 taking names on waiting list.
- Paycheck Protection Program: Ag producers are eligible. Loans will be provided on first-come first-served basis to apply ASAP.COVID-19
- Federal Rural Resource Guide (PDF): USDA and its Federal partners have programs that can be used to provide immediate and long-term assistance to rural communities affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. These programs can support recovery efforts for rural residents, businesses and communities through: technical, training, and management assistance; financial assistance; and state and local assistance. This resource matrix organizes funding opportunities identified in the CARES Act and other federal resources that can help support rural America. Opportunities are categorized by customer and assistance type.
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