; Growing a New Local Food Economy | Conferences | AgRisk Library


Conference Name Growing a New Local Food Economy

Katherine Baril


In the past five years, our rural County in Western Washington has experienced a dramatic renaissance in local food production. By literally revisualizing local food production through the arts and posters we are demonstrating tremendous success including the first local cheese production in thirty years! Extension faculty and community partners formed a unique Food and Farm Network which uses web sites, podcasting, and digital marketing to provide a full range of business training, marketing support, and innovative techniques to attract and support a younger generation of farmers. We developed easy access to a complex support system of marketing, human resources, law and finance information. Market sales have grown from $60,000 to over $600,000. A BUY LOCAL at the local food coop resulted in membership increasing from 100 members to now over 4500 and annual sales of over $8 million. Entrepreneurial education, marketing support, and one on one enterprise facilitation has demonstrated that farmers not only need to know how to grow but also how to be successful in business. Today a 120 acre farm is being preserved as a teaching learning farm and another 70 acres of golf course land is being converted to a working-teaching farm. The local food and farm network- using direct entrepreneurial support and high tech coaching is recruiting, training, and celebrating a new generation of farmers. The image of our market is a young, confident woman.. She captures the confidence and commitment this community has to growing its own local food economy