Building a Custom Trailer to Increase Market Exposure, Profitability, and Educational Outreach for Urban Produce and Free-Range Egg Farmers

Project Overview

FNC20-1226
Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2020: $8,998.00
Projected End Date: 01/31/2022
Grant Recipient: Omaha's High Ground: A Healthy Market Garden
Region: North Central
State: Nebraska
Project Coordinator:
David Keber
Omaha's High Ground: A Healthy Market Garden

Commodities

  • Vegetables: We grow and sell a large variety of various fruits and vegetables.
  • Animal Products: eggs

Practices

  • Animal Production: free-range
  • Crop Production: nutrient management, organic fertilizers, row covers (for season extension)
  • Education and Training: farmer to farmer, networking, youth education
  • Farm Business Management: farmers' markets/farm stands
  • Natural Resources/Environment: soil stabilization
  • Pest Management: mulches - general
  • Production Systems: holistic management, organic agriculture
  • Soil Management: composting, earthworms, green manures, nutrient mineralization, organic matter, soil analysis, soil microbiology, soil quality/health
  • Sustainable Communities: analysis of personal/family life, community development, food hubs, local and regional food systems, public policy, quality of life, urban agriculture

    Summary:

    As small-scale, urban producers, we raise free-range chickens and nutrient-dense produce. We emphasize a low carbon footprint approach and good stewardship of our animals, the soil, and the earth. The problem we face is the question of how to responsibly increase customer base and profitability in a way that is aligned with these core values. For example, most modern marketing approaches can draw customers from across town, producing emissions. Therefore, to align with our beliefs, our expansion needs to draw customers who already pass our property on a daily commute.

    The front of our property abuts a major urban thoroughfare. The opportunity is there. However, city code does not allow new construction close to that busy road, and costs are prohibitive (i.e. concrete pad and footings). City code also does not allow the construction of a business occupancy in a “Residential Zone.” Code does allow, however, sales from a roadside stand.

    Therefore, to increase exposure in an environmentally friendly way, and to fall within code compliance, we will build a sales trailer to catch new customers as they pass, thereby reducing emissions and costs of shipping, while also drawing people in for on-sight educational classes.

    Project objectives:

    Track increase in new customer sales generated by the high visibility of the trailer and its associated signage.

    Track increase in educational outreach opportunities by monitoring farm visits generated by the high visibility of the trailer.

    Reach out to other organic producers with less ideal locations to offer to sell their products. If we find interested producers, we will track the increase in revenue this high visibility outlet generates for them.

    Share our experiences and findings in public forums such as presentations to our Local Foods Coordinating Council and through social media, an online video, and a farm field day.

    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.