Farm to Market Alliance
Farm to Market Alliance (F2MA) is designed to support the marketing and transportation of local food fresh from farm to table through providing education and marketing materials. Specifically, two educational forums will be held regarding these topics and a map will be created designed to promote agritourism in and around Morgan County and to brand this area of Georgia as the hub of the local food movement.
1 – educational forums and materials The Conservancy will provide two forums designed to bring important information to farmers, residents, the markets (restaurants, foodies, grocers), and local elected officials that will be helpful in the marketing and transportation of local food fresh from farm to table. Two educational forums could consist of Who can sell what to whom, when and where;and &Farmland Preservation and Conservation Easements. Additional informational sessions could include meeting with Morgan County Board of Commissioners and Planning Staff to create agricultural zoning ordinances and/or overlays (already involved per their request in this activity, but need to be able to sustain our involvement). Partners in this effort would include Morgan County Board of Commissioners and Planning Staff, The Center for Preservation and Planning (Covington), Smart Growth Newton County, Friends of Walton County, UGA Ag Economics, GA Organics, the Madison-Morgan Chamber of Commerce, the Farm Bureau, the NRCS, the GA Land Conservation Program, and the USDA, in addition to residents, restaurant owners, farmers, landowners, etc.
2 – agritourism map and web presence The Conservancy has mobilized a group of sustainable farmers to compile a map and tour guide of farms, farm-stays, and farm events in Morgan County in order to promote agritourism in an effort to “Keep Farmers Farming.” Additionally, this group is working to create a web presence in a variety of forms (Chamber of Commerce website, Conservancy website, individual farm websites) for the many farms in Morgan County to promote and sustain that critical mass of agriculture that is needed for any individual farm to be successful. This project will require: coordinating farmers, collecting information about each farm, scheduling farm events, drafting text, creating graphics and map, printing maps and brochures, and marketing through other means the map and agritourism available in Morgan County. Partners involved in this project could include farmers, grocers, restaurateurs, GA Organics, local agribusinesses, Morgan County Board of Commissioners, Chambers of Commerce, Ga Department of Economic Development, as well as residents and the local Cooperative Extension Office.
To date, 22 entities have invested in designing and distributing FARMeander – a map promoting agritourism in and around Morgan County and to brand this area of Georgia as the hub of the local food movement. The entities consist of 19 farms, two festivals, and one B&B (some of the festivals and lodging are also farms). Once printed, the hard copy piece will be launched at Taste of Madison on March 17 – an event supporting the Madison-Morgan Chamber of Commerce, one of our Farm to Market Alliance partners.
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
The publication of FARMeander will help keep farmers farming – it will bring people to our farms, creating revenue for our farmers. Those people will come as visitors to farms, as attendees of farm festivals, and as guests of B&Bs and Inns providing a farm experience. Their experience on the farms will be educational for the visitors and profitable for the farmers. In concert with the publication of FARMeander, two educational forums will 1) provide information to farmers about land conservation tools and sustainable farming practices, and 2) provide information to elected officials and landowners about sustainable farming initiatives and the markets/industry being created through the local food movement. These forums should result in more sustainable farming practices being utilized by farmers and more sustainable farming legislation created and adopted by local elected officials.