Map of Online Presence

New Report: California Famers' Online Sales & Marketing During COVID19

Study explores Direct Market Famers' Use of Online Sales & Marketing During Pandemic

In this new report we highlight findings from a survey, interviews and participant observation with direct market farmers and technical assistant providers in California. We found that online technologies were an important tool for overcoming the disruptions caused by the pandemic. However, many farmers lacked the appropriate resources to use these tools. We argue that farmers need reliable access to the internet, financial support, and training to access and benefit from online sales and marketing.

Download the report: Pesci, Galt & Reyes (2023) California’s Direct Market Farmers’ Use of Online Sales and Marketing During the COVID-19 Pandemic


  • Direct market farmers have increased their use of online sales and marketing since March 2020.
  • Online sales and marketing helped farmers access markets during the pandemic in 2020.
  • Having a website or social media presence helps farmers increase sales
  • Online sales can be helpful for certain direct market farmers, but they are not the right fit for all farmers.
  • White, female, and younger farmers were more likely to have an online presence.
  • Farms with higher gross farm incomes and those not growing vegetables were more likely to use online sales.
  • Farmers need reliable internet, money, and training to use online sales and marketing

This year, ... I wanna keep on getting more people following on Instagram so I can start posting, ... ‘Hey, I'm over at this farmer's market, come check out my product.’ ... maybe they'll come by and get my stuff before they go to the [grocery] store, and I can try to capture a few more dollars in sales (Farmer 15).


I take a picture of a new melon patch that's coming on and a slice of melon, and then the next week at market people are like, “Hey, where's that melon?” … It's a very direct relationship to how much I sell that type of melon. If I hype it up on Instagram and tell people what its name is and the origin of it, then they'll be excited (Farmer 22)


I feel like a cheater because I was a website designer in my past jobs. And so I've been in graphic design and website design for years (Farmer 18).

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