LocalHarvest Newsletter

Newsletter > Oct 27th, 2000

Oct 27th, 2000


Dear Local Harvest Member,

Welcome to our second newsletter!

Remember, if anyone asks if you have a website, the answer is. . .
"Yes, look me up on localharvest.org."  

********* CONTENTS ****************
 1) Progress Report
 2) New Features
 3) Trouble Shooting
 4) What is Local Harvest?
***************************************

1) PROGRESS REPORT

There are now over 3100 total listings in our database, seeded from
the USDA directory of CSAs and Farmer's Markets.  Of these 3100 
total, only 300 are actively participating listings, such as
yourselves.  Thanks to your efforts we saw a definite increase in the
number of sign-ups after our last newsletter.  In September we
received a sizable 51 new sign-ups, and October a not too shabby 30. 
At an average of 50 sign-ups per month it will take us a 14 months
from now to reach our goal of 1000 active members. We consider 1000
active members to be the "critical mass," or the point at which the
site will actually become useful to BOTH consumers and farmers.  

You can help reach our population goal much sooner by spreading the
word to farms, organizations, and especially market managers,
throughout the United States.  We have printed sign-up forms on 
paper, available for those who do not have easy access to a computer.
We can mail them (or email the master) anywhere upon request.

Special thanks to our partners!
Thanks to our partners Dakota Rural Action (DRA), for mention of
Local Harvest in their last newsletter.  If you are part of a
sustainable agriculture organization that could help spread the word
in your newsletter, please contact us.

In the coming months we expect another growth spurt in the number of
California farms creating listings as a result of a partnership with
the Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF). CAFF is dedicating
the next two months to outreach in our home state. They will be
mailing information to over 4000 farmers in California encouraging
them to create a Local Harvest listing for their farms. You can see a
California version of Local Harvest, called Farm Fresh, on their
website (www.caff.org/farmfresh).  

2) NEW FEATURES/UNSUNG FEATURES

Since our last newsletter we have made the following improvements
based on your continued feedback... Thanks, and keep it coming.  

HELP!  
We have added a "HELP" link next to the search map (lower left) to
explain how all the controls work, and how searches work.

PROFILE/Products: New crops/products added 
Many additions have been made to the products list, so go back and
check it out if you produce something that wasn't on the original
list. Thanks for ALL of your suggestions, but unfortunately we must
be selective.  Any special items not found on the list, should be
included in your opening paragraph, or in the "what's new" section,
so that consumers can SEARCH FOR IT.  

PROFILE/Market: What's new
Don't forget to update the "what's new" side bar of your listing
often. To update, you need to be in the "Farmers Only" section. Go to
the bottom of the Market Profile page to the "Feature/What's New" 
box.  The feature you write will only appear for 90 DAYS AFTER THE
LAST TIME YOU SAVED IT.  This is meant to encourage you to keep your
listing up-to-date.

PROFILE/Upload Picture
It's never too late to add a picture to your site!

VIEW/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 of 
"Farmers Only."  Watch these numbers steadily increase in the coming
months!

VIEW/Newsletter Archives
That's right - our newsletters are archived (both of them!) and
available to you in the "View" Section.

COMMUNITY/Discussion
It's not new, but we thought we'd remind you all that it is there for
YOU to put to good use, by checking it frequently. Let's get some
lively discussion going on there folks, don't be shy. Check out the 
"Community" section.

COMMUNITY/Comments
Some of you may have received comments submitted from consumers that
you don't even know about!  Check the "Community" section.

3) TROUBLE SHOOTING

AREAS SERVED
There has been frequent confusion as to why neighboring cities also
get included when entering intended cities.  This is because cities
sharing the same zip code as the ones you check will be included
automatically.  When you uncheck a city, you must uncheck ALL cities
that share that zip code, or the unintended city will NOT disappear. 
The Local Harvest database is based on zip codes, so that zip code
searches can be performed as well as map searches.  We hope you will
err on the side of listing MORE cities, since if they share the same
zip, they are reasonably close together.

COOKIES
"Can I update my listing on Local Harvest if I disable cookies?" The
answer is NO.  If you generally prefer to disable cookies on your
browser, that is probably wise, but you will need to temporarily
enable cookies when you log in to the Farmer's Only area to update
your listing. Our cookie expires on your browser after thirty minutes
of no interaction with the website; it does not track your shopping
habits across the internet, or anything else unsavory. It is simply
used to remember you once you have signed in to the Farmers Only
section.

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 website 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. 

Ocean Group, the web engineering company that designed and hosts this
site, got involved when a group of farmers on the central coast of
California asked us to help them create this pro bono project. 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 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, 

Carla Campbell