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


    The Alternative Marketing Channels workshop conducted two three-day workshops in Portland, Oregon for 32 carefully selected Western agricultural professionals. The participants actively discussed these marketing alternatives with cutting edge farmers, market managers, retailers, chefs, and food system activists. They conducted qualitative research at three farmers’ markets and quantitative research at one farmers’ market. Key outcomes were increased understanding of the complex webs that form viable local and regional food systems, increased ability to provide guidance to clientele, greater knowledge of reliable, inexpensive research techniques, and dramatic expansion of their network of contacts. This workshop format was replicated twice in Minnesota.

    Project objectives:

    The project’s primary long-term outcomes are focused on developing the capacity of the trainers (the 32 workshop participants) to provide improved quality and increased quantity of educational activities and interventions. In order to verify these outcomes, we remained 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. Many of these outcomes were 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).

    Second the Portland “experts” who interacted with the workshop participants would gain from the experience . This was from both the questions asked as well as the networking.

    In addition there was the recognition that this was a fully replicable set of activities. Separate funding was obtained to conduct two workshops in Minnesota that used the educational design piloted in Portland.

    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.