2007 Ag Marketing Grants

Five projects ranging from the development of a virtual farmers market Web site for Northern California growers to research on how Southeast Asian farmers near Sacramento can capitalize on the high quality of their produce at farmers markets are two of five projects funded for a total $73,441.

Impacts from these kinds of projects include:

  • Educating the urban population about the importance of regional agriculture and providing opportunities for connecting growers and consumers.
  • Piloting innovative distribution strategies for supplying schools and other institutions with fresh, locally grown produce.
  • Scaling up direct marketing options such as CSAs so that many more producers and consumers can benefit.
  • Involving limited resource farmers in marketing and distribution systems that retain value so that farmers get a higher price for their products in competitive, regional markets.


Funded projects include:

PlacerGROWN Collaborative Community Supported Agriculture Project

Roger Ingram, UC Cooperative Extension, Placer County, (530) 889-7385, rsingram@ucdavis.edu. $20,250

The goal of this project is to expand the PlacerGROWN Collaborative Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) pilot project. Objectives are to increase the number of members in the CSA from 25 to 75 and to extend the marketing season from eight to 12 weeks. The project team will provide technical assistance and logistical support for the growers participating in the pilot program. In addition, the team will create a business plan that can be used as a template by other groups of growers or counties who are exploring or developing cooperative CSAs.

Evaluating Farmers Market Opportunities for Southeast Asian Growers in Sacramento County

Chuck Ingels, UC Cooperative Extension, Sacramento County, (916) 875-6913, caingels@ucdavis.edu. $13,276

This project addresses marketing challenges faced by Southeast Asian farmers, particularly related to farmers markets. Building on previous research, the project team will take a closer look at how farmers markets may provide a viable market niche for this segment of farmers in Sacramento County. Research will explore possible barriers to entry into farmers markets, and explore opportunities and strategies for Southeast Asian growers to increase participation and success with farmers markets.

Direct Market Potential of Five Heirloom Dry Bean Varieties

Rachael Long, UC Cooperative Extension, Yolo County, (530) 666-8143, rflong@ucdavis.edu. $15,070

This study examines the potential for direct marketing of heirloom dry beans. Five heirloom varieties have already been identified based on color, attractiveness, and production factors such as yield and pest resistance. Market potential of the five bean types will be evaluated in three regions: the San Francisco Bay Area, Yolo County and Humboldt County. A combination of surveys and interviews will be used to assess the experiences and attitudes of growers of test seed, producers who direct market the product, and consumers. Primary direct marketing channels for the dry beans to be considered in this project are farmers markets and CSAs.

Northwest California Web Based Marketing Project

Deborah Giraud, UC Cooperative Extension, Humboldt-Del Norte counties, (707) 445-7351, ddgiraud@ucdavis.edu. $14,845

This project will develop a virtual farmers market Web site that will expand marketing opportunities for producers in Northwest California. The Web site will provide a centralized location for participating growers to list the products they have available, and a mechanism for contacting sellers who will coordinate delivery. Purchasers may include institutional customers as well as individual consumers, who will benefit by receiving next-day product deliveries either from the farm, at local distribution points, or through other distributors. The project will encompass a three-county area and be developed in coordination with the Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) Growers Collaborative.

Solano Counties Agricultural Sustainability at the Crossroads: Working Together to Make Choices That Work

Carole Paterson, UC Cooperative Extension, Solano County, (707) 784-1125, capaterson@ucdavis.edu. $10,000

This project is part of larger countywide effort to strengthen agriculture in Solano County. Through previous work, the project team has established that there is interest in establishing a Solano County brand to help promote and market locally grown products. This grant will fund the development of the brand. The logo and marketing program will be developed through surveys and focus groups involving consumers and producers. In addition, the project will hold a series of educational workshops for Solano County farmers and ranchers that will help them evaluate their products, effectively use marketing tools that are being tested, understand and identify consumer preferences for sustainably produced food, and increase communication skills with each other and with consumers and the wider community.