Direct Marketing

Blackberries, blueberries and raspberries. (Copyright IStock.)
Direct-to-consumer marketing includes “marketing arrangement[s] in which producers sell agricultural products directly to the final consumers, such as sales to consumers through farmers’ markets, CSAs or farm stands” (Source: USDA Economic Research Service). Direct marketing can offer new and unique opportunities to build relationships and add value. Selling through direct channels can also add unique challenges. Find resources to explore, evaluate, and implement direct marketing for your operation.

ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture

This publication discusses direct marketing and the benefits and risks associated with selling agricultural products directly to customers. It covers popular direct marketing strategies, including  farmers markets, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), and direct sales to restaurants, institutions, and food hubs, as well as agritourism and Internet-based direct marketing. It contains information on marketing plans, pricing strategies, and creative marketing techniques.

New Venture Advisors. Local Food Promotion Program Grant Recipient, USDA Agricultural Marketing Service.

Are you thinking about starting a local food business or conducting a food system assessment and not sure how to evaluate the market? Are you considering a new food venture and want to better understand its profitability potential, or how well suited an existing facility might be to your vision? The NVA Toolsite is the place to get started!

Ecotrust. Local Food Promotion Program Grant Recipient, USDA Agricultural Marketing Service.

Recognizing the potential of buyers to support local and sustainable meat production, whilst reducing industrial food waste, The Northwest Food Buyers Alliance and local chefs created a guide for utilizing the entire pig. From buying to butchering and meal planning, the "Going Whole Hog" guide looks beyond bacon, to imagine what is possible for holistically utilized pork in the kitchen.

Golden Hills Resource Conservation and Development. Local Food Promotion Program Grant Recipient, USDA Agricultural Marketing Service.

This project was envisioned as a way to aggregate multiple poultry producers in Western Iowa to haul their birds to a USDA plant to help expand wholesale and retail markets as well as sales outside of Iowa.

National Center for Appropriate Technology. ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service.

Discusses direct marketing, marketing plans, promotion and branding, and the benefits and risks of direct marketing. Marketing channels covered include agritourism, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), farmers markets, internet-based marketing, and direct sales to restaurants, institutions, and food hubs. Additional publications about direct marketing are available. 

USDA. Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education.

Highlights farmer success stories for direct marketing ventures, provides tips on selecting alternative marketing channels and links to helpful programs and resources. Marketing options include adding value, agri-tourism, CSA/co-ops, direct marketing, evaluating new enterprises, Internet sales, pick-your-own/farm stands, remote marketing and restaurant sales.