This research examined the potential for direct marketing, capitalizing on farming near urban centers. A goal for this research project was to identify ways farmers in North Carolina could improve their quality of life by increasing the community’s support for local agricultural products. Data were collected on farmers’ current production and marketing strategies and on consumers’ purchasing priorities. These data were used to develop outreach programs designed both to modify farmers’ strategies and to educate consumers about local agricultural production. Presentations were made to farmers and consumers on direct marketing at local farmers markets and CSA arrangements.
Specific objectives guided the research for this project. The objectives were to: 1) identify consumers’ motivations for coming to a farmers market; 2) identify farmers’ opportunities to increase sales through direct marketing; 3) increase opportunities for consumer supported agriculture arrangements; 4) strengthen farmer – consumer linkages; and 5) develop a multi-faceted education program to modify farmers’ marketing strategies and consumers’ purchasing patterns.