For several months now I have been immersed in the creation of a digital strategy for a local (Colorado) farming organization. They are a multi-farm CSA (community sponsored agriculture) with a larger mission of community outreach. By organizing the sale of local food shares to their community, they feed people healthy food and they provide much needed support to local farmers.
This project combines two of my passions: growing vegetables and social technology. On the surface, they don’t seem like they should be related. But, from my perspective, these days, every aspect of life is related to social technology, and should benefit from it.
Farmers with a Digital Strategy
Some of my work on this particular topic can be seen on GoFarm’s digital channels – website, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram. During the course of designing and launching this digital strategy, the greatest challenge has been showcasing the local farmers … mainly because most local farmers don’t have much of a digital presence.
There are some farmers, though, that have embraced social technology, and are using it to help build their farming businesses. MicroFarms Colorado, for example, posts frequently about their urban farming concept of using neighborhood yards to grow organically and feed locally.
Kilt Farm, in Boulder County, is another local farmer that’s easy to get to know because of their consistent and interesting posts on Facebook and Twitter.
These farmers, though, are the exception. For most farmers, social technology is the farthest thing from their minds. That’s understandable, considering the pressures they’re faced with; what with planting, growing and harvesting; relying on weather and dealing with the consequences of changing climate. Many simply can’t spare the time to learn and manage public relations via the Internet.
Funding from the Department of Agriculture
As a digital strategist, I see a need for connecting the numerous but disparate initiatives related to salvaging our broken food system. There are restaurants committed to local sourcing. There are consumers who appreciate the benefits of buying seasonal, locally produced food. And then there are farmers . . . who have committed their lives to the hard work it takes to make all this happen.
I am currently working on a grant proposal to the CDA (Colorado Department of Agriculture) that would help fund an effort to raise the digital visibility of our local farmers – particularly those that grow specialty crops; that is, crops that go directly from farm to table. Being aware of the food movement is one thing. Doing something to drive it is another. That’s where I want to be.
If you would like to see local farmers be given the opportunity to have a digital presence that actively connects them with the food movement, please leave a comment. Your show of support may be just what’s needed to win the grant funding to make this happen!