According to ATTRA, the percentage of each food dollar that is received by the farmer has been declining for a century. In 2017 a farmer earned only $.17 of every food dollar. A farmer earned 190% more in 1980($.33). Most of the food dollar goes to marketing, processing, and distribution. Past SARE grants have explored value-added products as a way for farmers to earn more of that food dollar. This proposal addresses value-added processing, which adds safety risks and numerous hurdles for the farmer such as traceability, labeling, procurement of equipment, and marketing.
Pat & Rachel’s Gardens LLC, in cooperation with Fresh Farm HQ Cooperative Association (FFHQ), proposes to identify simple-to-process, high-demand, fruit and vegetable products and test them in three markets: farmer’s markets, grocery stores, and institutional buyers. Pat & Rachel’s Gardens is a certified organic producer and processing facility dedicated to sustainable agricultural practices. The facility is a “sub hub” for FFHQ, where product from ten members is aggregated. As a group of farmers, we are dedicated to finding ways to increase profitability by providing a venue for farmers to process excess crops, extend their selling season, and make quality, locally-grown produce available year round.
Project objectives from proposal:
- Interview FFHQ Buyers and Farmers for ideas for value-added
- Select five easy-to-process, high-demand vegetable
- Select two easy-to-process, high-demand fruit
- Define Kansas and Missouri food safety regulations for chosen processed
- Define processing means required for each product.
- Determine additional equipment needed to process, freeze (if necessary), package, label and track selected products.
- Procure needed additional tools and supplies to produce identified products for test
- Market identified products to Farmer’s Markets, our grocery stores, and our current institutional/corporate clients.
- Report findings through conferences, fact sheet and website.