LocalHarvest Newsletter

Newsletter > Feb 20th, 2001

Feb 20th, 2001


Dear Local Harvest Member,

Welcome to our third newsletter!

Remember, if anyone asks if you have a website, the answer is. . .
"Yes, look me up on localharvest.org."  Please include 
localharvest.org with all of your contact info.

********* CONTENTS ****************
 1) In the News
	Press:
	Eco Farm Conference:
 2) We're Growing!
	Visits:
	Signups:
	Goals:
	Fees Deferred:
 3) Internet Marketing Tips
 4) Survey Results
 5) New Features
 6) What is Local Harvest?
***************************************

Attention newcomers, check the newsletter archives to catch up with
the whole story. Sign in at localharvest.org/members.jsp and go to
the 'newsletters' link in the "View" section.

1) IN THE NEWS

Press:
Recently Local Harvest has gained its own momentum!  We've received 
some great recognition.

USA Today Newspaper (http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/USAToday/) ran a 
feature story about us on Nov. 13, 2000. 

Utne Reader Magazine highlighted us as "a great online resource for 
finding food grown near your home" in their Dec 2000 issue.

Yahoo (http://www.yahoo.com/picks/20001218.html) chose us as a 
"pick-of-the-week" site on Dec 18th.

Research Buzz, a website designed to cover the world of Internet 
research.  "Today's Buzz" on Jan 1, 2001.
(http://www.researchbuzz.com/news/2000/dec28jan0201.html)

The Librarian's Index to the Internet has a permanent reference for 
Local Harvest under "databases."  (http://www.lii.org search for 
"local harvest").

Eco Farm:
At the end of January, we presented Local Harvest to a packed room
at the annual Eco Farm Conference in Pacific Grove, CA, as part of 
a panel session entitled "E-Commerce For Small Growers."  We 
discussed the results of our member survey, and gave a glowing 
progress report since our pre-launch demonstration of Local 
Harvest the year before, and outlined the challenges that lay ahead.

2) WE'RE GROWING

Visits:
We are solidly averaging 300 visits per day to the website, about 
5,000-10,000 visits per month. Note that visits are more accurate 
than "hits"; if we counted hits, the tally would be much higher.
You can find out how many times people have viewed your listing.
When you log in to "farmers only," go to "hits." Full Belly Farms
is receiving about 30 visits per month. Way to go Full Belly!

Signups:
Thanks to your efforts we have seen 160 sign-ups since our
last newsletter. There are presently 3260 total listings in our 
database (of which 460 are actively participating listings, such as 
yourselves).  While October through December averaged 26 new 
signups per month, we have already received more than 100 new 
listings in 2001, and February's only half over!  

California now boasts the most active listings (114!) thanks
to outreach by our partners at Community Alliance with Family 
Farmers (CAFF). You can see a California version of Local Harvest, 
called Farm Fresh, on their website (www.caff.org/farmfresh).  

Goals:
Help us popularize the Local Harvest by spreading the good word to 
farms, organizations, and especially market managers in your area.
We have printable sign-up forms, available for your friends who do 
not have easy access to a computer.  You can download them in Adobe 
Acrobat format here: http://www.localharvest.org/printableform.jsp

Fees Deferred:
Membership in Local Harvest is still FREE for the time being. We 
anticipate that membership fees will be charged starting in 2002. We
only want to begin charging for this service when we are confident
that you will be able to justify the nominal fee. Once we have 1000
complete listings (currently 460) in our database, we will begin 
our second round of public promotion of the site. 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.
When we start charging a fee for listing on Local Harvest, it will 
be just $20 annually if you are a member of one of the sustainable
agriculture organizations listed on our Partners page. Otherwise, 
membership will be $40 per year.  The fee is simply to cover admini-
strative costs.

3) INTERNET MARKETING TIPS

The USDA has a report in progress entitled "How to Direct Market 
Farm Products on the Internet."  This publication will provide 
basic information to Farm Direct Marketers who are interested in 
selling their products via the Internet, or just having a website 
to publicize their farm or products.  References are cited, so you 
can undertake further research yourself. It will hopefully be 
available by our next newsletter, so stay tuned.  To get started 
now, check out Washington State University's Cooperative Extension 
Website at http://king.wsu.edu/ag/internetmarketing.htm

4) LOCAL HARVEST SURVEY RESULTS

Thank you to everyone who responded to our member survey!
We had a 20% response.  We received plenty of useful feedback,
both positive and negative, which has resulted in changes to the
site. Here are some of the results:

Q: Have you been contacted by consumers who found you through Local 
Harvest? 
(20% yes; 61% No; 19% - unknown or too new)

Q: Are you including Local Harvest in your farm's outreach 
advertising? 
(57% no advertising; 25% advertised)

Q: Would you recommend the site to other small farmers? 
(67% recommend; 8% don't recommend; 8% unknown) 

Even people who expressed frustration at the lack of action on their
listing were supportive of the site, and the effort it takes to get 
this going. There are simple things you can do to help increase 
traffic to your listing.  Include the Local Harvest website 
address,www.localharvest.org, on your email signature, and 
include it under your contact information in all your printed 
materials.

Here's a fine example of the power of Local Harvest:

"We got one subscription from a woman in Southern CA for a daughter 
attending the University of Pittsburgh.  All the correspondence for 
signing up, billing, and even extra special item orders through the 
year are via mom in CA! This is definitely a departure from usual 
local marketing."

5) NEW FEATURES/UNSUNG FEATURES

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

PROFILE/Products: New crops/products added 
Many additions have been made to the products list (Again!), so go 
back and check it out if you grow 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!

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. There are a 
few folks consistently stirring up some lively discussion, keep it 
going. Check out the "Community" section.

COMMUNITY/Comments
You will now get an automatic email when you receive comments 
submitted from consumers. Check the "Community" section, "comments."

6) 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 2001. 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