Communicating The benefits of local food
At Freight Farms, we are huge advocates of local food. Buying local products benefits actors along every step of the supply chain from the workers, to the customer, and especially to the environment.
Consumers today are much more food conscious and interested in purchasing locally grown, sustainably produced products. With this type of food in high demand, there is a large opportunity for freight farmers to satisfy the needs of these customers by growing leafy greens year-round. As a grower and seller, it's important to know how to communicate the value of your product to your customers when marketing your business through labeling, or, if possible, talking to customers directly about your hyperlocal, hydroponically grown crops. Often locally grown foods have a higher price point than conventionally grown, so it's crucial to educate your customers on why it's beneficial to purchase your produce over conventionally grown products.
If you'd like to learn more about the distinctions between local, organic and hyperlocal, check out our blog post.
5 selling points of hyperlocal food grown with the LGM
1. Local: With the Leafy Green Machine, you can farm in any climate, so your customers can rest happy knowing that their dollars are helping the local economy and that their food was grown only miles away. On average, food in the United States travels 1,200 miles and changes hands a dozen times before it is consumed, racking up a superabundance of food miles. Producing and selling closer to your end customer significantly cuts down your carbon footprint, as well as saves you time transporting your food to market.
2. Quality and Consistency: Since all the inputs in your system (temperature, nutrients, water, etc.) are under your control via the farmhand mobile app, you can ensure the consistency of your harvest. When your crops have the ideal growing conditions, you can really taste the difference! The automation systems in place inside the farm eliminate the challenges and variability in weather that outdoor farmers face such as hurricanes, hail, drought etc. and protects your crops from weeds.
3. Transparency: Many new freight farmers find that their customers are eager to find out more about the technology inside the farm, and learn more about how they grow. Often farmers invite chefs to come tour the farm, and walk them through every step of their growing process. This develops trust and loyalty when customers can form a relationship with their supplier and really gain an understanding of your farming operation. As a freight farmer, you should take the opportunity to educate your customers about how you're growing, whether through your website, social media, or newsletters.
4. Shelf-life: More often than not, produce is trucked in from thousands of miles away on the back of a truck, and it's harvested a week or so before it actually gets into the hands of the end consumer, only a few days before it starts to go bad. With the LGM you can bring freshly harvested crops to your customers year-round that lasts in their fridge for up to two weeks. For example, if you're growing lettuce, you can harvest your plant with the root ball still attached, and sell your customers a living plant that will stay fresh longer.
5. Your story: Another essential component of marketing your freight farm produce is to tell your story. It helps you find that certain customer who values your product and inspires loyalty to keep them coming back to your product time and time again. The best way to inform your customers about yourself and your business is a face-to-face conversation, but of course that isn't always possible. You will want to make this information is readily available on your website, and perhaps include this information with your product by including a brief write-up. Corner Stalk Farm does a great job of this (picture right).
PRO TIP: Heather Szyumra of Twisted Infusions recommends giving out samples to potential clients. According to Heather, once people get a taste of the produce, they're hooked.