Increased consumer demand for local foods continues to reshape local supply chains in favor of consumption of fresh, local foods. This project leverages existing Mississippi State University Extension programs to strengthen rural communities in Mississippi by teaching Extension agents how to assist local food producers with improving their online marketing efforts to connect with local consumers.
Online marketing training will be provided to Extension agents as professional development in four primary areas: Local Food System Economics; Digital Marketing Strategies; Social Media Marketing Strategies; and Branding and Visual Marketing Strategies. This proposal aims to train MSU-ES agents to deliver these timely Extension curricula to provide technical assistance to local food-based businesses, which supports the economic development of communities in Mississippi. The opportunity for assisting these types of businesses has never been greater given the many easy-to-learn concepts and practical tools that are available for improved online marketing.
Also, the proposed training will be used to train Extension agents on how to build better relationships between producers and consumers, through marketing education, community development practices, strategic problem-solving, and technology training. Agents will be able to assist producers, identify proper marketing channels, solve problems regarding distribution, and determine what steps are needed to prepare for distribution, enhance their local foods community, and develop effective marketing strategies for their products.
This training is an important economic development program in Mississippi that could be replicated across the U.S. for other Extension agents, communities, agricultural producers and local food businesses.
Project objectives from proposal:
Online marketing training will be provided to Extension agents as professional development in four primary areas: Local Food System Economics; Digital Marketing Strategies; Social Media Marketing Strategies; and Branding and Visual Marketing Strategies.