New CASFS manual focuses on the business
of small-scale farming
By Jennifer McNulty
The economics of corporate-dominated food
production today make it tough for small-scale farmers to make
ends meet. Despite long hours and backbreaking work, they often
have little money in the bank.
A new publication by CASFS offers
marketing ideas and strategies for small-scale farming.
new publication by the Center for Agroecology & Sustainable
Food Systems (CASFS) focuses on what it takes to make small-scale
farming economically viable, offering marketing and business-planning
guidance, as well as tips on how to pursue out of the
box ideas like marketing to restaurants.
A compendium of the latest marketing ideas and strategies compiled
by instructors in UCSC's highly regarded Farm & Garden Apprenticeship
Program, the manual offers lessons to farmers, instructors,
and others with direct-marketing outlets, including urban farms,
community gardens, and food projects.
The manual covers farm and business planning, selling at farmers'
markets, direct marketing at a roadside farm stand, and a full
exploration of community-supported agriculture (CSA), which
has been a boon to many small growers.
The publication, Teaching Direct Marketing and Small Farm
Viability: Resources for Instructors, is a companion volume
to CASFS's first training manual, Teaching Organic Farming
and Gardening: Resources for Instructors.
Growing quality produce is at the heart of farming, but
there's much more that goes into making a farm successful over
the long term, said CASFS director Carol Shennan. We
saw a real need for a publication that would address the business
aspects of farming.
From finding land and planning what crops to grow, to marketing
crops and managing farm income and expenses, Teaching Direct
Marketing and Small Farm Viability covers it all. Three
sections focus on marketing, while other sections cover land-use
options, including cash-rent leases from nonprofits, shared
ownership models, conservation easements, and community land
trusts. A general review of small farm viability is also included.
The manual may be downloaded for free as a PDF from the CASFS
web site. It is also available in print for $25, plus $4
for domestic shipping; please send e-mail to TrainingManual@ucsc.edu
for details on how to order a printed copy.
The manual was made possible by funding from the True North
Foundation, the Foundation for Sustainability and Innovation,
and the Organic Farming Research Foundation.
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