Southwest Marketing Network: Expanding Markets for Small-Scale Alternative and Minority Farmers and Ranchers
Through the Southwest Marketing Network (SWMN) and its collaboration with producers, New Mexico State University and other organizations, this project will increase farmers’ and ranchers’ knowledge, awareness, attitudes and skills by providing connections with other producers and buyers, technical and financial assistance, and marketing and business information. It will also provide producers with the peer examples they need to improve their marketing success as a means to increase their profitability, viability and numbers.
Of the “distance learning tools” developed, the following have been disseminated to farmers, ranchers and service providers in Colorado, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and Tribal communities in the Southwest. Hands-on workshops have also been provided as well as workshops and sessions at the annual Southwest Marketing Network Conference.
As a result of the conference workshops, hands-on “season extension” workshop, and distance learning tools provided the following has been accomplished and individuals served:
– Eight “season extension” coldframe building hands-on workshops were hosted with an average of 23 participants at each, totaling 190. Including the 2005 conference session on coldframe building a total of 319 farmers and gardeners have received instruction on coldframe building. In addition, more than 125 farmers and gardeners participated in the 2007 Alcalde Field Day in August. There were three brief coldframe building demonstrations along with drip irrigation options. Farm to Table provided additional hands-on tour of farms in the region using the technology. As a result 25 Tribal community members from the Navajo Nation, Jemez, Taos and Acoma Pueblos received the training and DVDs.
– The “Coldframe Building DVD that was filmed in the first year in partnership with the Alcalde Agriculture Science Center and the NM State University video crew is a step-by-step video of how to build a 20×30 food coldframe. The video has been extremely popular. The video has been made available in both VHS and DVD. In year one we disseminated to more than 270 producers and service providers in the four state region. In year two there was a demand by Native Americans for the DVD. 100 DVDs were made in the Navajo language and an additional 100 English were ordered. By the end of August 2007 we have disseminated 407 in English and 76 in Navajo.
– In the first year we also disseminated 250 DVDs of eight hours of farm marketing and business management tools that were specifically video taped at the 2004 conference for this project. In 2007 we provided a new set (eight hours) of farm and ranch marketing and business planning “distance learning” DVDs to 187 SWMN conference participants.
– At the 2007 Southwest Marketing Network Conference in Flagstaff, AZ we provided producers and service providers with 28 workshops and a farm tour on production and marketing of farm and ranch products (2005 conference was reported on is our 2005 report and 2006 conference was reported on in 2006 report). Participants received all distance learning tools created through this project to date.
As mentioned above, a survey of 675 farmers and over 800 schools in NM was done in February of 2007. The result was a directory and handbook listing more than 100 farmers interested in selling to schools and more than school that serve more than half of New Mexico’s 217,00 students who eat school lunches that are interested in buying from NM farmers.
Farm to Table, the NM Food & Agriculture Policy Council, NM Department of Agriculture and NM School Nutrition Association are working in partnership with legislators to seek state funding for the program including a 2007 “win” of $85,000 to a cluster of 12 Albuquerque schools serving close to 6,000 students. In 2007 the program expanded from three school districts to six. Expanded efforts now include Colorado schools, especially in the Durango region and most recently in Denver, including the goal of introducing state legislation in their 2008 legislative session. Arizona is developing the program in the Phoenix and Tucson areas and did a recent food assessment including farm to school interests. These states along with Utah and Wyoming are now part of the National Farm to School Network and farm to Table is the lead organization for the Southwest and Rocky Mountain states.
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
As a result of the SW Marketing Network Conference workshops in 2005, 2006 and 2007 providing 84 production and marketing workshops, eight hands-on “season extension” workshops, and distance learning tools provided, the following impacts and outcomes have been observed:
– 826 producers and service providers (of which close to 450 were producers) have actively participated in hands-on trainings, presentations and conference workshops in a two year period of this grant.
– During the hands-on trainings over the two-and-a-half-year period 163 participants learned at least two successful and innovative marketing approaches employed by farmers in the region. These included varieties of plants that can be grown in cold-frame/season extension greenhouses and where to sell them – local farmers markets, schools, stores, restaurants, and community supported agriculture projects.
– All 826 of the producers and service providers learned how to access at least two new resources within the region to help them reinforce and practice what they have learned. All participants received either or both of the videos (cold-frame building and SWMN conference videos) as well as a farm direct marketing book from the University of Arizona, specific information provided by the Alcalde Agriculture Science Center during hands-on trainings, Farm to School handbooks and directories, nine SWMN newsletters (including information about drought, marketing best practices, farm to cafeteria, livestock production and marketing, and more) and website information.
– 214 service providers –- non-profit organizations, Cooperative Extension and department of agriculture agents and other government and non-government service providers
— are now active in the SWMN (goal was 10).
Professor and Executive Producer of Video Media
New Mexico State University
Box 30003, Dept 3AI
Las Cruces, NM 88003
Office Phone: 5056465658
Alcalde Agriculture Science Center
Office Phone: 5058522668
NM Cooperative Extension Service
120 So. Federal Place, 109
Santa Fe, NM 87501
Office Phone: 5059834615
Pueblo of San Felipe
Pueblo of San Felipe, NM
Southwest Marketing Network
2727 Co. Rd 134
Hesperus, CO 81326
Office Phone: 9705882292