Adding Local Value with Community Partnership Strategies
The goal of this project is to develop a local food system that supports sustainable agriculture concepts and methods and to develop a marketing campaign that supports relationships between producers, consumers, distributors and the community-at-large, so that producers are known, respected and valued for their contributions to the social, physical and economic environment of the community.
The first objective is to facilitate the development of an attractive symbol which will identify Locally-Owned Value-Added (LOVA) fresh or processed products. To fulfill this, we will:
1) coordinate focus groups that include producers, consumers, distributors, educators and social service agencies to assess barriers and opportunities of marketing LOVA;
2) present market research and enlist marketing professionals to assist in positioning decisions; and
3) create start-up strategies for contacting consumers from existing networks of focus group participants.
The second objective is to initiate consumer education campaign to promote the LOVA symbol. To do this:
1) A speakers bureau will be formed from major participants and other qualified individuals to address meetings of civic groups, faith groups, and special events devised especially for the purpose of acquainting consumers with the LOVA symbol, its meaning and purpose;
2) All public communication and media contact methods will be utilized to introduce the LOVA symbol to the general public, such as public service announcements, press releases, etc;
3) Regular public events that cause producers and consumers to meet on equal ground will be organized, such as community pot-luck suppers, which will facilitate relationship formation; and
4) A local food conference will be organized each year to present topics of interest in workshop or seminar format that encourages the ongoing relationships between LOVA producers, consumers, distributors and other community organizations.
For the third objective, we will develop relationships with distribution channels that encourages their acceptance and use of the LOVA symbol. This will be accomplished as we:
1) establish direct contact with restaurants, grocers, specialty shops, and institutional food buyers who sell to food buyers to explain LOVA symbol, its promotion campaign, and its benefit to themselves and the community;
2) supply distribution channels with LOVA symbol point-of-purchase and promotional items; and
3) develop advertising partnerships with distributors.
For the fourth objective, we will facilitate research of a Local Food Center. We will:
1) coordinate needs assessment and create asset map of community food system components;
2) survey producers, consumers, distributors, educators, and social services to determine desirable components of a comprehensive center that would likely include a shared-use kitchen incubator/community kitchen, shared-use warehouse and distribution area, offices, and community use facilities, such as meeting rooms and a banquet hall; and
3) contact appropriate personnel to undertake design phase of project, e.g. architects, engineers, city planning, etc.
Finally, we will create networking opportunities and assist in the formation of beneficial relationships between producers by:
1) making information and assistance available to producers wishing to form a legal structure for continued cooperation as project grows and relationships develop; and
2) facilitating formation of producer-owned distribution network to function from the local food center.
To facilitate education and outreach:
1) Market research findings, consumer trends, and marketing techniques will be explored by focus groups with all community sectors present;
2) Mass marketing campaign of LOVA symbol will reach region-wide, with distributors targeted to enhance on-site consumer education;
3) The local food center study will be presented to any interested parties to encourage support region-wide;
4) Producers will be targeted to create beneficial working relationships and a producer-owned corporation to provide long-term sustainability;
5) All activities will be documented and distributed through a web site, and available as hard copy; and
6) Project leaders will develop presentations that explain the sectoral approach to local food system development and regional marketing strategies for delivery to other regions in the start-up phase of food system organization.
North Central Region SARE 1998 Annual Report