GAINESVILLE — In today’s food market, small is good and local is what consumers seek to buy. Consumer-demand research by the U.S. Department of Agriculture tells us that communities want to buy from small, local businesses.
This is good news for beginning entrepreneurs in agriculture who are trying to start their own businesses like small farms, urban garden fields and cottage food businesses. They might also be trying to connect with farmer’s markets and community supported agriculture (CSA). First, they need to know which marketing channels to use, they must find buyers and set up sales.
Beginning on May 2, a team from University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is offering a free series, How to Market in a Digital Era, for agricultural entrepreneurs in the southeast and southwest Florida markets. The series will offer webinars, followed by in-person trainings in English and Spanish. UF/IFAS experts will take participants through a step-by-step process to create marketing plans, utilize social media and set up online and electronic sales.
The program starts off with two webinars, each in English and Spanish, then offers a follow-up in-person training in English and Spanish on May 18, 19 and 20. In-person trainings will take place in Estero, Bartow, Homestead and Fort Pierce, respectively.
To attend the free program, registration is required. Choose from the following English or Spanish webinar links:
• May 2: How to Market in the Digital Era: Overview & Electronic Sales: 10 a.m. to noon: https://bit.ly/3tLNklz
• May 10: Mercadeo en la Era Digital: Descripción General y Ventas Electrónicas: 10 a.m. to noon: https://bit.ly/3DkDKZX
• May 12: How to Market in the Digital Era: Using Social Media & Selling Online: 10 a.m. to noon: https://bit.ly/3qF4Hmc
• May 12: Mercadeo en la Era Digital: Utilizando Redes Sociales y Ventas En Línea: 10 a.m. to noon: https://bit.ly/3qF4Hmc
“The USDA has estimated the number of farmers’ markets increased by 180% between 2007 and 2014 and the number of regional food hubs increased by more than 288%,” said Trent Blare, an assistant professor in food and resource economics at the UF/IFAS Tropical Research and Education Center in Homestead.
Consumers’ demand for food products has evolved too, said Blare. There is a growing demand for locally, sustainably produced goods, organic or otherwise, that are of the highest quality.
“In fact, the sale of local agricultural products in the US increased by 26% from 2015 to 2017 totaling $11.8 billion, 3% of all agricultural sales (Martinez, 2021),” he quoted from a report.
For more information, click on the following link where you can also register: https://ruralengagement.org/digital-marketing-toolkit/