ERIC Number: ED450984
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2000-Feb
Reference Count: N/A
Innovative Marketing Opportunities for Small Farmers: Local Schools as Customers.
Schofer, Daniel P.; Holmes, Glyen; Richardson, Vonda; Connerly, Charles
A group of limited-resource small farmers in northern Florida's Jackson County, the USDA, the West Florida Resource Conservation and Development Council, Florida A&M University, and the Federation of Southern Cooperatives organized the New North Florida Cooperative to increase farm income by introducing improved methods of marketing value-added agricultural products while encouraging innovative farming techniques. The cooperative recognized a considerable opportunity in serving local school districts with fresh agricultural products, and focused its marketing efforts in that area. This report describes how the cooperative overcame initial difficulties, including lack of organization, economic difficulties, social attitudes, existing customer preferences, and lack of equipment. The cooperative formed a management team as its governing body that addressed problems and handled daily business activities in a unified, methodical way; acquired capital and purchased necessary startup equipment, such as a refrigerated trailer, cutting machines, and wash sinks; and developed a good working relationship with the food service director for the Gadsden County School District by providing high-quality produce, prompt deliveries, fair prices, and courteous professionalism. The cooperative's main product was fresh-cut leafy greens, but watermelons, strawberries, blackberries, and grapes were also sold. The cooperative established a reputation as a reliable vendor and expanded to school districts in three other counties. Appendices present school menus, an order form, and a delivery schedule. (Contains 28 references.) (TD)
Descriptors: Ancillary School Services, Black Businesses, Cooperatives, Elementary Secondary Education, Farmers, Food Service, Lunch Programs, Marketing, Rural Development, Rural Farm Residents, Rural Schools, School Business Relationship, Small Businesses
Full text at Web site: http://www.ams.usda.gov/directmarketing/publications.htm.
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Department of Agriculture, Washington, DC.
Identifiers - Location: Florida