Monday, April 27, 2020

WEBINAR — E-Commerce During COVID-19: Opportunities for Food Producers to Make Direct Market Sales Online

More than 500 registered for a webinar hosted by the Council on Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics (C-FARE) and the Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association (NAREA) April 24, the most since the council began producing lunchtime webinars.
E-Commerce During COVID-19: Opportunities for Food Producers to Make Direct Market Sales Online was created and moderated by C-FARE board member, NAREA president and Rutgers University economist Gal Hochman. He was joined by three panelists:
After the presentation, attendees asked for additional information on a number of organizations, trends and developments. Here are the questions followed by written responses from Jeffrey O’Hara (except where noted) with links:
Can you talk more about the different functions of a food hub? What topics do they typically cover? What kind of size of a metropolitan area is right for a Hub?
The Wallace Center produces a lot of good resources for Food Hub practitioners, and here’s a recent report. The Wallace Center and Michigan State University collaborate on a bi-annual survey of the food hub sector, and here’s the latest.
Haven’t states and localities struggled with building aggregation and distribution infrastructure to improve food system resilience? What can we do?
The Agricultural Marketing Service offers funding for this. View the local food promotion program and regional food system partnership RFA’s on the website.
We have offered door-to-door non-contact delivery of fruits and vegetables for three weeks. We are trying to get add-on products/ Do you have any suggestions on how we can “hook” non-fruits and vegetable producers to join our service? Also, what platform seems to be most effective in attracting customers? We have been successful using word of mouth.
Read the new report by the National Young Farmers Coalition. It discusses the pros and cons of various platforms.
Has the AMS considered stats for nuts (nut orchardists), grains and beans?
I used “fruit” as shorthand for fruit/nuts/berries. That is how USDA defines commodities in its surveys. Direct sales of grain farmers is modest, so I did not include that in my presentation. However, in the coming months we will be posting case studies on of how businesses are adapting to COVID-19 shutdowns. This will likely include commodities such as small-scale meat, grains, seafood and other such direct-to-consumer sellers.
What other creative collaborations have you seen [like] wineries partnering with farmer's markets or farmers?
I wonder if there are opportunities for farmers to partner with restaurants. Many local restaurants are now carrying groceries and other staples. Some would likely be willing to partner with farmers as a venue for farm products.
I [Kathleen Liang] will be presenting at two webinars April 27 and April 30 about innovative partnerships and collaborations. They’re hosted by the North Carolina Cooperative Extension's Local Food Program Team about innovative partnerships and collaborations, and to register, visit this sign-up.
  • The first webinar from 7-8:30 p.m April 27 will highlight collaborative efforts of farmers that are not tied to a food hub.  Panelists will include representatives of Vacationer Supported Agriculture, Piedmont Progressive Farmers Group, and Carolina Common Enterprise.
  • The second webinar from 7-8:30 p.m. April 30 will discuss food hub efforts to link consumers with local food. Panelists will include representatives of High County Food Hub, TRACTOR, Feast Down East, and Sandhills Farm to Table.

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