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The Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems is a research, education, and public service program at the University of California, Santa Cruz, dedicated to increasing ecological sustainability and social justice in the food and agriculture system. Our mission is to research, develop, and advance sustainable food and agricultural systems that are environmentally sound, economically viable, socially responsible, nonexploitative, and that serve as a foundation for future generations. The Center's work covers a spectrum that includes both theoretical and applied research, academic education and practical training, and public service for audiences ranging from local school children to international agencies. The Center is a part of UCSC's Social Sciences Division.

On the UCSC campus the Center manages the 25-acre UCSC Farm and the 2-acre Alan Chadwick Garden as sites for teaching, training, and research in organic horticulture and agricutlure. Both sites are open to the public daily.

Dr. Daniel Press, Director
CASFS
University of California, Santa Cruz
1156 High St.
Santa Cruz, CA 95064
831.459-3240
casfs.ucsc.edu

Cover page of Teaching Direct Marketing and Small Farm Viability: Resources for Instructors, 2nd Edition. Unit 1- Small Farm Economic Viability.

Teaching Direct Marketing and Small Farm Viability: Resources for Instructors, 2nd Edition. Unit 1- Small Farm Economic Viability.

(2015)

This unit provides students with an overview of trends and issues that affect small farm economic viability in the food system.

The first lecture reviews how small farms are defined and includes an overview of the ecological, economic, and social importance of small-scale farms, as well as the demographics of the current farmer population.

Lecture 2 examines recent economic trends and government policies impacting this sector. It concludes with a discussion of movements and strategies to support small farms, and sets the stage for subsequent units with an overview of marketing and income diversification strategies.

Cover page of Teaching Direct Marketing and Small Farm Viability: Resources for Instructors, 2nd Edition. Part 7 - Food Safety on the Farm

Teaching Direct Marketing and Small Farm Viability: Resources for Instructors, 2nd Edition. Part 7 - Food Safety on the Farm

(2015)

For a variety of reasons, including the demands of buyers and insurance companies, food safety has become a major concern in farming operations. Federal regulations governing food safety on the farm are still developing, but even in their absence, all growers should be aware of and employ practices that minimize the risk of food-borne contamination. This unit introduces the concept of food safety, and the steps involved in the developmnent of a food safety plan based on “good agricultural practices” (GAPS).

The first lecture discusses some of the reasons behind recent food safety concerns, reviews the categories of microbes and the pathogens most involved in food contamination, and discusses the need for a food safety plan and the current status of the federal Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

Lecture 2 discusses potential sources of pathogens, practices that minimize risks of microbial contamination, and the use of logs, checklists, and standard operating procedures in implementing and tracking good agricultural practices. The concepts of conservation and biodiversity on the farm as they relate to food safety are also introduced, along with third party audits and sources for help in developing a food safety plan.

Cover page of Teaching Direct Marketing and Small Farm Viability: Resources for Instructors, 2nd Edition. Part 4 - Other Direct and Intermediate Marketing Options

Teaching Direct Marketing and Small Farm Viability: Resources for Instructors, 2nd Edition. Part 4 - Other Direct and Intermediate Marketing Options

(2015)

Along with Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), there are a number of other direct and intermediate marketing strategies that growers are using to maintain the economic viability of their small farms. This unit introduces students to some of the primary and innovative marketing approaches being used or explored by small-scale producers.

Unit 4.1 – Direct to Consumers—Farmers’ Markets and Roadside Stands, provides an overview of the essential considerations for developing and managing direct market sales through farmers’ markets and roadside stands.

Unit 4.2 – Selling to Restaurants and Retail, introduces students to the steps involved and the opportunities and challenges faced in selling directly to these markets.

Unit 4.3 – Additional Marketing Options, introduces students to some of the newer strategies people are exploring to expand their reach beyond the more standard ways of reaching customers. These include working with faith-based organizations as well as implementing agritourism ventures and eCommerce strategies. It also briefly reviews intermediate strategies such as farm-to-institution, food hubs, and collaborative ventures.

Cover page of Teaching Direct Marketing and Small Farm Viability: Resources for Instructors, 2nd Edition. Part 8 - Farm Employees and Innovative Models for Interns and Apprentices

Teaching Direct Marketing and Small Farm Viability: Resources for Instructors, 2nd Edition. Part 8 - Farm Employees and Innovative Models for Interns and Apprentices

(2015)

While many beginning farmers may start their new business using only their own labor, they will generally need help for the farm to grow and become profitable. It is important to understand the legal requirements for hiring employees and working with apprentices and interns.

Lecture 1 will familiarize students with employee protections— the federal and California state employment laws as they pertain to small farms. Most other states have employment laws administered through the state government in a manner similar to California. Generally, workers are entitled to minimum wage and overtime pay, and employers are subject to penalties for violating the law. There are limited exceptions for family members and some agricultural workers and trainees. This unit will look carefully at how the law treats on-farm internships and apprenticeships. These relationships are often viewed by both parties as something other than employment, but most of the time federal and state law requires an “intern” or “apprentice” to be treated as an employee under the law.

Lecture 2 looks at the obligations of an employer. In addition to complying with federal and state minimum wage laws, employers must also pay federal and state payroll taxes on time and comply with applicable state and federal safety standards to protect workers, such as carrying workers compensation insurance. Other federal and state rules cover requirements to keep certain types of records and to provide employees with certain notices.

Lecture 3 covers emerging alternative models for affordable and legally compliant farm apprenticeships: (1) working with an accredited educational institution to develop a registered apprenticeship program, (2) sub-leasing part of your land to an aspiring farmer, and (3) starting a separate business—a farm-school—and seeking funds to offset the costs of training provided to employees.

Cover page of Teaching Direct Marketign and Small Farm Viability, 2nd Edition. Unit 2 - Overview of Produce Marketing

Teaching Direct Marketign and Small Farm Viability, 2nd Edition. Unit 2 - Overview of Produce Marketing

(2015)

The choice of a produce marketing channel is one of the most critical decisions produce farmers must make. This unit introduces students to the history of produce marketing and provides information on the most common marketing options.

Lecture 1 provides an historical overview and discusses the changes growers made to their marketing practices after the advent of supermarkets and 20th century technology. It also introduces Agricultural Marketing Orders and their unique role in marketing produce. Three main conventional market channel options (wholesale buyers, grower/ shipper/packers, and brokers) are also reviewed, including their advantages and disadvantages for small-scale growers.

Lecture 2 discusses alternative marketing options (Direct to Retail & Restaurants, Farmers’ Markets, and Community Supported Agriculture); these topics will be covered in detail in later units. The lecture concludes with questions to consider in choosing a marketing strategy.

Cover page of Teaching Direct Marketing and Small Farm Viability: Resources for Instructors, 2nd Edition. Unit 5 - Marketing Basics

Teaching Direct Marketing and Small Farm Viability: Resources for Instructors, 2nd Edition. Unit 5 - Marketing Basics

(2015)

Marketing is often the most daunting task for beginning farmers, and with competition increasing in the organic sector, it has become an even more essential component of a farm’s overall business plan. Implementing a successful marketing plan requires a set of analytical and human relations skills that are distinct from but that compliment those used in production agriculture.

Ongoing growth in the organic sector has increased competition in the marketplace (including more and larger companies), but also has increased awareness of, demand for, and opportunities to market organic products. Market research and analysis of farm production and sales records can help the farmer identify profitable products and market outlets. Customer relations always have been, and continue to be central to a successful marketing strategy. Finally, social media technologies, while providing new marketing opportunities, require developing additional skills and time to use them effectively. This section provides an overview of some basic marketing elements.

Cover page of Teaching Direct Marketing and Small Farm Viability, 2nd Edition. Unit 3 - Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)

Teaching Direct Marketing and Small Farm Viability, 2nd Edition. Unit 3 - Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)

(2015)

This unit on direct marketing through Community Supported Agriculture introduces students to the history of CSA and today’s various CSA structures. In addition, this unit will focus in depth on the two primary forms of CSA (the Membership/Share Model CSAs and the Subscription Model), illustrating how CSA structure, outreach, and administration differ for each model. The unit also covers the agronomic considerations for running a CSA, including crop planning, soil fertility, harvest, and post-harvest handling.

Cover page of Teaching Direct Marketing and Small Farm Viability: Resources for Instructors, 2nd Edition. Part 9 - Land Tenure Options and Strategies

Teaching Direct Marketing and Small Farm Viability: Resources for Instructors, 2nd Edition. Part 9 - Land Tenure Options and Strategies

(2015)

Affordable and secure access to land is crucial for assuring both the economic viability of small-scale agriculture and the adoption and use of sound land stewardship practices. In order to help beginning farmers secure long-term land tenure in the face of development and increasing land prices, new and innovative options for land tenure must be explored. This unit introduces students to a range of strategies that may be used to secure affordable access to land. Although the focus is on those farming or seeking farmland in California, this information will also be useful in other regions.

Lecture 1 examines the challenge of finding affordable farmland, and outlines various land tenure options, including leasing and purchasing, and alternative models such as community land trusts and shared ownership arrangements.

Lecture 2 offers “how to” information on finding land and developing a lease agreement. It also identifies government programs that offer help to beginning farmers who are looking for land and improving farmland.

Cover page of Teaching Direct Marketing and Small Farm Viability: Resources for Instructors, 2nd Edition. Introduction.

Teaching Direct Marketing and Small Farm Viability: Resources for Instructors, 2nd Edition. Introduction.

(2015)

For farmers, growing quality crops is just one step in running a successful farm—making the farm or market garden economically viable requires another suite of skills, including finding land, planning what crops to grow, marketing the crops, managing income and expenses, and addressing food safety and labor issues.

 

At the University of California, Santa Cruz Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS), the Farm & Garden Apprenticeship instructors have put together a new instructional resource filled with lessons to teach these skills. Teaching Direct Marketing and Small Farm Viability: Resources for Instructors, 2nd Edition is a companion volume to CASFS’s first training manual, Teaching Organic Farming and Gardening: Resources for Instructors. Revised and expanded in 2015, the first teaching resource has met with widespread praise from educators across North America. Teaching Direct Marketing and Small Farm Viability builds on our experience educating nearly 1,500 apprentice growers in organic production, farm and business planning, direct marketing at a roadside farm stand and to local restaurants, and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) management through hands-on training in the running of our 135-member CSA program.

 

Published in 2015, the new edition of Teaching Direct Marketing and Small Farm Viability: Resources for Instructors is organized into nine units, four focusing on marketing and five covering other topics related to making a small farm economically viable. Included are lessons and resources for running a CSA project, selling at farmers’ markets, forming collaborative marketing groups and grower cooperatives, and selling to restaurants. Also covered are strategies to reach customers using social media and on-farm events, improve small farm planning, including enterprise visioning and market assessment; creating a business plan, including marketing and crop plans; understanding basic bookkeeping and tax issues; and managing time and cash flow. Food safety issues are addressed, along with labor and apprenticeship options. Land tenure arrangements such as cash-rent leases from non-profits, shared ownership models, conservation easements, and community land trusts are reviewed as additional mechanisms for addressing the complex issue of the economic viability of small-scale agriculture. This resource also reviews the trends and factors that influence small-scale agriculture’s economics, and provides an overview of produce marketing in the U.S.

 

The training manual is designed for a wide audience of those involved in teaching farming and sustainable agriculture, including instructors at college and universities, agriculture organizations, farm-training programs, apprenticeship programs; agricultural extension personnel; farmers with interns; and growers, teachers, and organizers at urban farms, community gardens, and food projects with direct-marketing outlets. This instructor’s resource features class and field demonstration outlines, trainee exercises, and resource materials, with a focus on CSA. The manual can be used in a classroom setting or adapted for other training formats, such as short courses, conferences, and field days.