Sustainable Local Shopping: Farm Stands & CSA
Guest post by Nyree Marsh, Basin Business Advisors Program - Agriculture Specialist
2020 has been a year full of surprises, but one of the most delightful ones has been the number of new farm stands that have popped up in our communities. Several enterprising farmers have adapted quickly to delayed farmer's markets and an increased demand for local food by setting up farm stands and “honour fridges”. My new weekend pastime is hopping on my bike, or taking a drive, to visit my favourite farm stands to stock up on fresh fruit and vegetables, eggs, locally raised meat, and fresh flowers.
Farmers around the Columbia Basin have been reporting an increase in farm gate sales and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) subscription boxes as demand for locally grown and raised food grew out of the global pandemic. Customers are hooked by the high quality of locally grown products, the convenience of home delivery of CSA boxes, and the fun of visiting their local farms to shop at the farm stand.
As with any new sales channel there are things that farmers will want to consider before shifting to farm gate sales or a subscription CSA model. Farm stands are a great way to build customer trust and loyalty, you have much less travel, set-up and packing up time, and they are an opportunity to combine sales if you have other on-farm revenue streams such as pottery, wool, or other artisan crafts. However, farmers need to consider location, potential legal liabilities, regulations, and potential increased costs.
If you want to start planning a farm stand or CSA for next year, we can help you work through anticipated sales and expenses, how to market your farm stand or CSA, and we can provide a look at all the details such as opening hours, labour costs, accepting payment, tracking product sales, how to keep honour fridges secure, managing on-farm visitors, and more.
Agriculture businesses in the Columbia Basin can apply for free one-to-one business advisement with Nyree Marsh, Basin Business Advisors Program – Agriculture Specialist: https://bbaprogram.ca/areas/agriculture-business-advisement/
Photo credit: Amanda and Ewan Forrest, Forrest Farm in Salmo BC