- Farm Business Management: marketing management
- Sustainable Communities: new business opportunities, partnerships, public participation, urban/rural integration, social networks
The goal of this project was to increase sales for sustainable farmers by growing the demand for their products from individuals, eateries and institutions. We influenced demand through a multi-faceted public education campaign that included high profile educational events, telling stories of cafés and restaurants committed to buying sustainably-produced ingredients from local farmers, and a green travel initiative–branded Green Routes. We estimate that the public education campaign reached at least 750,000 people and have anecdotal evidence that a number of these people changed their behavior as a result. Furthermore, our SARE grant enabled us to leverage additional funds to strengthen our work in this area.
This project was undertaken to build on the momentum that was underway in Minnesota for developing a sustainable, local food system. It set out to conduct a public education campaign that would launch Minnesota to the next level in supporting sustainable agriculture and rural communities.
Building on other Renewing the Countryside campaigns that successfully highlight sustainable farmers (and others) through a website, book and media coverage, we proposed a plan that would capture the attention of new audiences and give people easy, concrete ways to act to support their local food system. The heart of the campaign was showcasing eating establishments across the state that buy from local farmers and the farmers that supply them. These profiles were the anchor for a broad and ambitious initiative which included the production of a book and website, the development of a green travel initiative, high profile educational events, and an aggressive media campaign.
Collect and showcase profiles of farmer/eatery relationships across Minnesota. Present these stories, along with recipes, in publications that have mass market appeal and that will garner the public’s attention.
Develop easy-to-use, regional Green Routes guides that will lead people to patronize enterprises that support local foods and sustainable agriculture.
Implement a statewide, local foods festival that will serve as a platform to bring attention to the issues.
Conduct an extensive media campaign that will build on the above three components of the project.