Hands-On Workshops: Alternative Marketing Approaches and Distribution Channels

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2006: $60,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2008
Region: Western
State: Oregon
Principal Investigator:
Larry Lev
Oregon State University

Annual Reports


  • Fruits: melons, apples, apricots, berries (brambles), peaches, pears, plums
  • Nuts: hazelnuts
  • Vegetables: asparagus, beets, broccoli, cabbages, carrots, cucurbits, eggplant, greens (leafy), sweet corn, tomatoes
  • Animals: bovine, poultry, goats, sheep
  • Animal Products: dairy


  • Education and Training: extension, networking, participatory research
  • Farm Business Management: community-supported agriculture, marketing management, market study
  • Sustainable Communities: urban agriculture, urban/rural integration

    Proposal abstract:

    The 3-day, hands-on workshops conducted for this project will provide a set of learning experiences that place the emerging marketing options in their proper context and environment. At the producer level, it is necessary to recognize both the opportunities and challenges that innovative producers face in stitching together a successful business that markets in multiple ways. A workshop focused solely on providing agricultural professionals with new ideas, opportunities and skills for working with individual producers would be extremely valuable but sadly incomplete. Equally important from an educational perspective is providing real world examples at the food system level of how these innovative approaches are becoming mutually reinforcing once the cluster of activities passes a certain threshold. In the Portland, Oregon, metropolitan area, farmers markets, restaurants, and retailers have certainly reached this intriguing stage. Throughout the workshops, this dual focus on both the farm level and the broader system will be maintained.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Trained trainers – The activities and publications listed above are output measures. The project’s primary long-term outcomes will be the improved quality and increased quantity of educational activities and interventions by the 32 workshop participants after they have completed the workshop. In order to verify these outcomes, we will remain in contact with these participants for 12 months and periodically ask for reports of their marketing-related educational program activities.

    We have also set the following short-term and medium-term outcomes: changes in awareness, attitudes, and knowledge of both alternative marketing approaches and distribution channels and of educational programming approaches. More specifically here are short-term and medium-term outcomes that we will track for the workshop participants:
    • Know and understand marketing channels including strengths and weaknesses.
    • Familiarity with and use of existing resources including publications and DVDs.
    • Frequency that they consult the two documents produced for the workshop.
    • Ability to put together an educational program including an RMA study of a specific market or a tour or a conference.
    • Confidence in working in this subject matter area.
    Many of these outcomes can be assessed during the workshop itself through a careful process of gathering baseline data at the beginning of the workshop and new data at the end of the workshop (Lev, Smith and William, 1995).

    Other beneficiaries –There are two additional audiences that will directly benefit from project outputs. First, there are those who will consult the two written products of this effort that will be made available electronically through the OSU Small Farms website and the Western SARE website. It is our experience that some agricultural professionals in the West region as well as others throughout the world will consult and make use of these two resources. We will seek to track this dissemination of our efforts but recognize that these outcomes will be more difficult to quantify. Web versions of our previous publications (primarily Lev, Brewer and Stephenson 2005) have provided applied research methods and educational approaches that have been widely adopted in the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom.

    Second, the Portland food system actors who are studied by the workshop participants will receive feedback, and in the case of the farmers markets, consumer research results. We will collect information from the food system actors on the usefulness of their interactions with and feedback from the workshop participants.

    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.