Seven Springs Speaker Spotlight: James Farmer, Local Foods Marketer

Reader Contribution by Erica Binns

Get to know James Farmer of Earlham College.

What are you going to speak about at the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR?

I am going to be talking about what the consumers say are the benefits of shopping at the farmers’ market or subscribing to CSAs. I will also present some details on what they don’t like too. A second presentation will focus on marketing local foods for sale through farmers’ markets and CSAs. This will include direct marketing techniques, as well as the consumer values and motivations as they pertain to each venue.

What are you most looking forward to sharing with FAIR attendees?

Ideas that are based on research, based on direct consumers. In particular, I am excited to discuss the significance of social media in local foods.

Tell us about your background with your particular topic.

My wife and I once had a small CSA/farm in southern Indiana and became quite passionate about local foods with the arrival of our first child. Since then I have expanded my research to include local foods and organic production. Currently, I am the advisor to Miller Farm, Earlham College’s student run agriculture living and learning center.

Why should fairgoers attend your presentation?

Fairgoers should attend my presentations to learn more about the benefits of farmers’ markets and CSAs, as well as ways for attracting and keeping consumers. CSAs, specifically, have a rough go at retention. Hopefully we can shed some light on this issue.

How will you get to the FAIR, and how far do you have to travel?

We will be driving a 12 passenger van that will have 8 college students, my wife, two children (Samuel and Caroline), and myself.

What are you most looking forward to at the FAIR?

Learning about sustainable agriculture to apply it to Miller Farm, and sharing the experience with my family and students.

What advice do you have for attendees?

Soak up as much as you can: there is plenty of time for rest on the way home.

If you were stranded on a deserted island and could have only one thing, what would you choose?

My family, we would have a lot of fun.

Thanks, James. We’ll see you at the FAIR!

Please visit the FAIR website for more information about the Seven Springs, Pa. FAIR September 24-25, and upcoming FAIRs in other locations. Tickets are on sale now.

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