FREE marketing AND Consumer Friendly
When I first moved to West Virginia five years ago this past June I tried to find out where local farms were located but the information was hard to access. Little did I know that the Farm2u Collaborative was working on exactly what I needed!
In August 2007 the Collaborative for 21st Century Appalachia kicked off its Farm2u website at the State Fair. The first person to search for a nearby farm product was then Governor Joe Manchin. Since that time over 60,000 visitors to the website have checked out where they can find local farm products on a farm or at a farmstand or CSA or shop at a farm market or find a restaurant that uses local foods on their menu.
The Farm2u website has had a major rebuild and we are pleased to announce that the new wvFarm2u website not only provides all the information mentioned about but also will help you locate a winery, a producer of value-added products, a nursery or greenhouse, a farmer artisan and an agri-destination.
As a consumer who is interested in eating local food and supporting the restaurants that make an effort to serve local products on their menu, I am very pleased that this new website is so comprehensive.
But the website works best if the farms and markets and restaurants in the state are active.
“The first year was hard to get participants, ” Techie Annie Seay remarked. “Over the last five years, however, farmers who originally did not have any internet experience have begun to appreciate the amount of business that comes to them because the consumer found the information on the Farm2u website.”
Allen Arnold, Director of the Collaborative for 21st Century Appalachia, enjoys sharing a story about a high school teacher in the Northern Panhandle who runs an annual plant sale with the Ag students. For a decade, after an announcement in the local newspaper, the sale went on for two weeks, and then the prices for the seedlings and plants were reduced to encourage purchasing for another three weeks. At the end of the sale, plants were given away for free and then the remainder were trashed.
However, the year the teacher assigned the students to update the sale inventory daily on the group’s Farm2U website listing the entire inventory was sold within the two week regularly scheduled sale! Customers complimented the teacher saying the website let them know what was offered.
If you had a listing on the original Farm2u website, the information was transferred to the new site, but it will need to be enhanced and updated. You will be receiving a letter in the mail helping you get back online in case you forget your password.
The trick to becoming a FEATURED farm or market or restaurant (go look at the website to see all the categories!!) is to go to your site and add something once a week. You can add information about what you have to offer in season and you can add photos.
One more amazing thing—all this marketing is FREE for you. Go to http://www.wvfarm2u.org/ and USE IT!!!
If you build it, they will come.