Wholesale channels that provide additional marketing options for small- to mid-sized, values-based producers, increase consumer access to their products, and participate in 'farm to fork' efforts are increasingly referred to as values-based supply chains (VBSCs). Businesses within VBSCs that aggregate product from these kinds of producers are often referred to as food hubs.
Consumers’ interest in knowing where their food comes from has contributed significantly to the recent growth of the specialty foods market. The Beyond Fresh & Direct project team received a grant from USDA to identify ingredient sourcing opportunities in the specialty food business.
California consumers are increasingly aware that food products are connected to their social, environmental and community values. In addition to taste and freshness, consumers are interested in food that is local, produced using environmentally sustainable practices, fairly traded and more.
SAREP strives to build markets for farmers and better inform consumers of the values farmers put into their work. We also work to build the academic community’s understanding of these market practices to improve our institutional ability to respond to the needs of the agricultural community.
UC SAREP works to improve the pathway from farm to fork. The best way to increase purchasing of locally grown products is to forge relationships between sellers and buyers. A market niche is emerging in the produce industry, driven by consumer demand for farm products delivered through conventional channels while communicating values of local, ethnic, or sustainable. The produce distribution industry is mobilizing to meet this demand and needs appropriately prepared farmers.
With a growing interest in gardening, food preservation and livestock, urban agriculture is making its way to the forefront of planning and policy agendas. More urban agriculture programs are starting up in cities around California, and urban agriculture regulations are a topic policy makers and communities are grappling with. Urban agriculture has the potential to improve access to food, build economic opportunitie
The number of farmers markets nationwide has increased more than ten-fold over the last few decades. Today there are more than 3,000 farmersmarkets bringing fresh, seasonal, high quality foods directly from local farms to enthusiastic customers in large and small communities throughout the U.S. Although farmersmarkets are known for connecting consumers directly with farmers, there has been little recognition of the way these markets help develop farm businesses and the economies of the host communities.
Farmers markets, community supported agriculture services, and on-farm sales like u-pick and farm stands are important ways for growers to establish a steady customer base participate in a region’s food system.
Navigating the logistics of these marketing venues can be challenging, and properly planning for direct sales is essential to making these markets profitable.
Our resources can help farmers be better prepared for direct sales, and can help local agriculture advocates support the growth of local markets.
Our Agriculture marketing studies examines how specific counties or regions are responding to global economic and social trends by developing strategies that support more local or regional food systems.
UC SAREP Plays a Role in Convening Organizations Involved in Educating, Training and Supporting California Farmers.
Many organizations in California—non-profits, financial institutions, government agencies, UCCE—support small, beginning and limited resource farmers to develop their skills in production, marketing, land access, and business management. Other organizations offer training programs to aspiring farmers.