2008 - Volume #32, Issue #6, Page #08[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Website Links Farmers To ConsumersTom Davenport uses his website - Farmfoodies.org - to connect farm producers and consumers at no cost. It's a system that allows farmers to update their information easily and send emails to customers who are interested in their products.
For example, Davenport recently sent out an email that he planned to butcher 20 heritage Gloucestershire Old Spot pigs in November. Other times of the year he sends emails when his hay, beef and fruits or vegetables are ready.
"The ideal place this works is on the fringes of populated areas, and where people are nostalgic about connecting with farms," says Davenport, whose farm is in Delaplane, Virginia, about 70 miles west of Washington D.C.
Farmfoody.org went on-line this spring, but already has nearly 2,000 members throughout the U.S., with the majority in the Virginia area where it has had the most publicity. Visitors to the site can type in a zip code to find out what's available in their area and sign up to become "friends" of any farm they're interested in and receive email notifications from that farmer.
Davenport says it's another way to direct-market to consumers. His friend, Steve Knoblock, designed easy-to-use software for farmers to fill out and update.
"It gives farmers immediate personalized websites, and they can change everything easily by themselves," Davenport says. Each farm's page includes a map where the farm is located and options that include recipes, video and frequently asked questions (FAQ). The FAQ section can be very useful; instead of spending time on the phone answering the same questions, the producer can direct the consumer to his web page.
Davenport invites interested farmers in the U.S. and Canada to check out his website and contact him for more information. There is no fee, he notes, for listings. Any size operation is welcome, from someone with a few extra vegetables to sell, to large farms and orchards.
"Getting a site like this to grow is a little like priming a pump. We advise new farm members to contact us with information about press contacts in their area," Davenport says. "We will send press releases to those contacts to spread the word to farmers and consumers."
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Tom Davenport, 1524 Snowden Road, Delaplane, Virginia 20144 (ph 540 592-3701; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.farm foody.org).
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