LocalHarvest Newsletter

Newsletter > Sep 6th, 2000

Sep 6th, 2000


Local HARVEST at http://www.localharvest.org

Dear Local Harvest Member,

Welcome to our first newsletter!

********* CONTENTS ****************
 1) Progress Report
 2) Our goal (and how you can help)
 3) What's new on the website
 4) What is Local Harvest?
***********************************

1) Progress Report

Since our launch and testing phase in March-April we have made
various fixes, and improvements to the site based on your useful
feedback. Thanks, and keep it coming.  

We've been busy "seeding" the database with information from the USDA
database of farms and farmers' markets, which has only basic contact
information.  It was quite a job, and we now have a total of 3100
listings, about 200 of which are now complete and active listings. 
Not bad!

We are seeing an average of 45 new sign-ups per month since May.   
We're anticipating a growth spurt in the number of California farms
creating listings because we recently created a special partnership
with a nonprofit organization here in CA, Community Alliance with
Family Farmers. CAFF will be doing outreach to the many direct market
farmers in our home state, and will be publishing the information
they gather on Local Harvest and in a printed directory.

2) Our goal (and how you can help)

We have set a goal of 1000 complete active listings by the end of the
year.  That's only 800 more, and you can help by spreading the word
to farms, market managers, and other organizations throughout the US.
We are doing the best we can to publicize the site, and have printed
listing forms on paper for those who do not have easy access to a
computer.  We can mail them (or email the master) anywhere upon
request.

3) What's new on the website

Searches, hit counters, and city-based areas...

a)SEARCHES
You asked for it, and we heard you!
On the homepage, in the lower left corner, there are finally new ways
to search: 

search by name: 
Look yourself up, AND make sure your listing is totally complete!

search by description:
Look up keywords in listing descriptions such as: internship, mail
order, education, tour, heirloom, roma tomato, olive oil, etc.  See
who's got what, anywhere!  

You might want to go update your description/feature including all
relevant keywords, now that you know how else people can find you.

search by crops/products:
Choose from a list of items and see who's got them.

search by state:
Use this to narrow down any above search, or see listings for an
entire state.

search by outlet:
you can combine the "what are you looking for?" checkboxes near the
map to narrow your search to just Farmer's Markets, for example.

b) HIT COUNTER
You can go see how many times your listing page has been viewed per
month.  Just log in and choose "hits" in the "View" section.  Watch
these numbers steadily increase in the coming months!

c) CITY-BASED AREAS SERVED
We used to ask you for "zip codes you served" and we got plenty of
feedback that it was difficult to think that way.  Since we already
have a database that translates this stuff, we have listed "Areas
Served" with cities (the ones associated with the zip codes you
already entered) grouped by county.  In the "farmers only" section 
you can update the cities served from a checklist of all the cities
in a particular state.  You might want to update this too, it couldn
't hurt to add more cities, now that you can see which ones you're
missing!

4) What is Local Harvest?

You've heard it, but here's the rap, so you can pass it on!

Local Harvest, allows consumers all over the country to search for
local farmers' markets, community supported agriculture farms, U-pick
farms and farm stands, and to view an extensive listing for each
market or farm that matches their search criteria. Unlike other Web
sites listing farms and farmers' market information, Local Harvest
allows you to upload a photo of your market, write a description of
it, list the available produce (don't worry, we made a pick-list so
you don't have to remember it all!), and much more. It is like
putting a brochure about your market on-line, but it takes very
little time to do and requires no special Internet skills. 

Even if your market is already on the Web, you can still benefit by a
Local Harvest listing.  Being part of a national directory will
increase your chances that potential customers (and farmers) will
locate your market information on the internet. Additionally, you can
link your existing web-site to your Local Harvest listing. 

And the listing is FREE. Here's the fine print: in order to get as
many farmers markets and direct market farmers to participate as
possible (yes, please pass this on to all the direct market farmers
you know!), we're waiving all fees for the first year. Next year, the
participation fee will be $20 a year for those who are members of
partnering nonprofit organizations, listed on the site, and $40 for
those who aren't. The reason behind this breakdown is that we wanted
to use Local Harvest as a way of encouraging people to support a
sustainable agriculture organization. 

To create a listing: First you need to register for the site. Click
on the "sign up here" icon at the top of the page at http://www
.localharvest.org and fill out the short registration form; then go
to the "farmers only" section of the site where you can fill out the
other forms that will be compiled to create a listing for your market
. 

We are attaching a letter that describes the site in detail, as well
as how our company, Ocean Group, got involved--in a nutshell, a group
of farmers on the central coast of California asked us to help them
create this pro bono project and we agreed. Ocean Group devotes about
20% of its staff resources to "good works" projects, particularly in
support of sustainable agriculture.

We have worked really hard to make this site beautiful and easy to
use. What it really needs now is to be populated with thousands of
listings of markets and farms. We hope you'll take time to go to the
site and create a listing for your market. It's a great way to let
more people know about your farmers' market.

Please help us by spreading the word to other farmers and market
managers you know. 

Best wishes for a successful market season.

Sincerely, 

Erin Barnett

+++
Erin Barnett
Project Manager
Ocean Group
Local Harvest, a project of Ocean Group
831.466.0700
www.oceangroup.com