- Fruits: apples, berries (blueberries), berries (other), berries (strawberries), cherries, grapes, peaches
- Nuts: chestnuts
- Vegetables: asparagus, peppers, tomatoes
- Animals: poultry
- Farm Business Management: farm-to-institution, market study, marketing management, new enterprise development, risk management, value added
- Sustainable Communities: analysis of personal/family life, ethnic differences/cultural and demographic change, leadership development, local and regional food systems, new business opportunities, partnerships, social capital, social networks
Best Organic Management and Marketing Strategies in MichiganAs the demand for organic fresh produce continues to grow, wholesale and retail dealers based in the Midwest report an interest in sourcing more fresh produce from organic farmers in the region. However, small-scale organic farmers in the Midwest have not become engaged in wholesale-retail marketing. In Michigan, most organic farmers have developed diversified marketing strategies that depend upon making production decisions related to different, but largely direct marketing outlets. Thus, efforts to expand the participation of organic farmers in Midwest wholesale-retail markets must understand the ways in which organic farmers combine and adapt production and market decisions to develop diversified marketing strategies. This project identifies and documents five Michigan cases of best diversified organic management and marketing practices and strategies. These cases are developed around the following types of operations: vegetable-fruit, vegetable-floriculture, field crop-vegetable, field crop-livestock/poultry, and fruit-livestock/poultry. These cases will help both organic and conventional farmers who are thinking about incorporating organic practices in their operations adapt the case information to enhance their marketing options. In addition, by bringing farmers and produce buyers together in the research process, new relationships may be created that help to expand the availability of locally-grown organic produce in the region. The method used in this project should also be applicable in other parts of the region.
Project objectives from proposal:
The objective of this project is to document five cases of the best diversified and combined organic management and marketing strategies that organic farmers, those in transition, and those considering a move from conventional to organic practices can use to expand the availability of Midwestern-grown organic produce in both direct and wholesale-retail markets in the upper Midwest.
These case studies will identify how farmers adjust their production practices to the opportunities and barriers faced in selling to farmers markets, operating a community supported agriculture (CSA) farm, and marketing to brokers/wholesalers, grocery retailers, and food services.