Research: I read somewhere that some people will drive up to 50 miles for fresh local food. In fact, I tried to convince a neighboring effort to drop their grand vision of a downtown location in the urban area in favor of a lower-cost, off the beaten path storefront. Well, people are driving from their city to purchase unrefrigerated fresh fruits and veggies from my front yard. Mind you, this is a 35-minute drive from the closest edge of the city, heading to a blip on the map that I call home.
That’s not the extent of it. We have found checks in our Honesty Box and talked to customers that live 40+ miles in every direction, and they drove just for our Social Media-advertised stand. We have not advertised in any traditional manner, beyond $5 worth of paper signage. Word of mouth and Facebook…those are the advertising mediums, and they are working wonderfully!
Despite the ridiculously low pricing we offer (like 25 lbs of #1 tomatoes for $7) and losses due to spoilage, we have been able to donate food, can/freeze hundreds of pounds, and have lost hundreds of pounds to Mother Nature. A cost-analysis of leasing an air-conditioned place, at least in season, is quite favorable! Add in a cooler…double profits and triple shelf life. This is a next-year idea, of course, but it will happen.
Why am I going into all of this? Well, this season has again been one of change and uncertainty. As opposed to spending my life on the road like 2012, or glued to a computer like 2013, I have been able to connect on a local scale while maintaining traditional employment. Local restaurants are coming to buy bulk out of our front yard via the Honesty Box. We have been thanked so profusely by our neighbors and our community that I’d continue doing this at a loss, if I had to and could. The point is that I do not have to.
I spoke with the Superintendent and Principal of our school, and things look promising. Again, I will press the issue more in-depth next year. This year…we’ll just see what happens. Next step is to speak with the person in charge of Food Service. I’m not sure when that will be, but I will have that talk. I may wait until I read the newest publication from Farm to School–Evalutation for Transformation: A Cross-Sectoral Evaluation Framework for Farm to School.
Well, that’s all I have time for right now…. Until next time!