Northeastern Ohio Local Warehouse Distribution and Marketing Initiative

Final Report for FNC02-406

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2002: $17,700.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2004
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $100,750.00
Region: North Central
State: Ohio
Project Coordinator:
Expand All

Project Information

Summary:

PROJECT BACKGROUND
– A 6000 square foot production and distribution center for grass fed organic and organic products, such as cheese and other dairy products, milled grains. This center also houses a small dairy processing plant, and will soon accommodate a commercial kitchen.
– All the parties involved in this project have been certified organic farmers for many years. Organic farming is a sustainable agricultural practice that is beneficial to the environment and human health. All the farmers in the dairy portion of the project have shifted to 100% grass fed production systems. Permanent pasture minimizes soil erosion by as much as 93%, significantly increases soil stability, organic matter and earthworms counts. Highest rates of carbon dioxide soil absorption have been observed as compared to any other ecosystems. Less nitrate pollution have been reported as well as improved stream quality and better habitat for grassland birds and other wildlife. The resulting product nutrition profile is a third fold better than anything on the market.

PROEJCT DESCRIPTION AND RESULTS
Project goals:
1) Create a centralized marketing and distribution facility
2) Enable local organic grower to gain access to the regional natural food markets
3) Supply retail and restaurant outlets with locally grown organic products
4) Enhance farmland profitability

Process:
The warehouse processing and distribution center was formally incorporated with the state Ohio under the name “Pleasant Home Foods.” A portion of the warehouse was converted to a dairy processing center for the production of cheeses, yogurt and other dairy products. A large walk in cooler was installed. A small commercial stone flour mill was also set up.

People:
Approximately 30 local farmers provide raw materials for processing and distribution. The Ohio Department of Agriculture has assisted with setting up of the dairy processing side of the operation.

Results:
1) Organic grains and organic milk from grass fed cows are being collected from several local farmers
2) Several local organic growers are supplying grains and milk for processing and distribution through the newly established Pleasant Home Foods warehouse and distribution center.
3) Local restaurants from Cleveland to Cincinnati are purchasing our flour and cheeses. Numerous farmers markets in Northeast Ohio are being used as direct sales outlets.
4) Farmers are earning between 10 to 30% above the conventional market for their grains and milk.
5) These results were within our expectations and with additional sales more farmers will benefit.

Discussion:
Sales and bookkeeping are important and time consuming jobs and full time personnel will need to be hired. Market demand and details of distribution have stressed the parties involved as dedicated personnel are needed for each function of the warehouse.

OUTREACH
Direct sales and marketing approaches (at least 10 different farmers markets sold our products), attendance to educational meetings and membership to the Northeast Ohio Foodshed network were among the approaches used to promote the project.

Research

Participation Summary
Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.