I hope this email finds you and your family safe and well. As spring moves closer to summer, I am reminded yet again that things are always in motion, always in flux. Despite the fact that the last two months have been unlike any others that many of us have ever known, we keep moving. I am appreciative of this weekly space and hope to share with you meaningful information from the following week as well as the week ahead.
Last week we shared the news that the Small Business Association’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program had re-opened the application for agricultural businesses only due to the earlier funding limitations plus the unprecedented number of applications received. If needed, more information can be found here along with helpful guidance about the ins and outs of applying from Farm Commons.
Helping Farmers Feed Hungry Families Update
Thanks to generous donors our network has supported farmers providing food to a community food pantry in Iowa, an interfaith food pantry in Wisconsin, an elementary school resource center in Washington, a church food ministry in Georgia, and a food bank in eastern Washington. We cannot thank those enough who have given or shared the fundraiser with friends and family. There are still a few farms pushing toward their goal, so we invite you to share the fundraiser page with those around you.
Marketing Support and Navigating Re-openings
While there is considerable variation across the country, some states are beginning to reopen. We understand that navigating this territory—and continuing to get your products to customers—will look different for every farm and ranch in the program (see our COVID-19 Collected Resources for Farmers for tips). Please remember the marketing support provided by AGW, especially during this time. For delivery/pick-up, farmers’ markets and more, AGW-branded merchandise is available for purchase here and your regional coordinators, with the support of the AGW Marketing team, are here to help you take advantage of every opportunity to display and promote your certification, helping market your products to existing and new customers. We know you are stretched thin, so remember that we are here to help.
We have heard some of you say that you are focusing on social media as a part of your marketing strategy and as a way to connect with current and future customers. If you need a quick guide to help you out, our blog post called “Get Social” is a good resource. Our team has eyes on social media, and we are sharing posts and updates from certified farmers. Make sure that you are following us on Facebook @AGreenerWorld, Instagram @AGreenerWorldOrg and Twitter @AGreenerWorld and tag us in your posts so that we can find and share!
From Your Peers
More eyes and ears are tuning in to the stories from the frontlines of food and agriculture, and AGW-certified producers continue to appear in the media. This article about Mack Brook Farm in New York highlights how the pandemic, with looming threats of shortages due to closed slaughter plants along with altered supply chains, have pushed customers toward area farms. This article including Chapel Hill Creamery in NC tells the story of how folks are rising to the variety of challenges presented by COVID-19. AGW-certified farms participating the “Help Farmers Feed Hungry Families” fundraiser were also covered in regional outlets last week—this article about Driftless Hills Farm in Iowa and this one about Hunter Farms in Georgia.
As food and farming continue to get considerable coverage, our Marketing team will continue to pitch ideas to the press. These ideas include stories of farms navigating changing markets, the stories of local demand and local supply chains, innovative ways farms are getting products to customers and more. Please be in touch with your FMOC if you have news that you would like to share.
- Our COVID-19 Collected Resources for Farmers page—new resources added regularly.
- The AGW Marketplace—anyone and everyone seeking or selling AGW-certified products is encouraged to use it freely. We are continuing to hear from farmers who either need animals or are selling animals, and we continue to help facilitate connections. Please be in touch if we can help beyond the marketplace ad.
- AGW’s Online Shopping page is one of the highest-trafficked areas of our site so make sure you’re listed!
- Our video check-ins with farmers, processors, and people working in the supply chain across the country share how folks have adapted to pandemic-related changes in their businesses. We hope the stories and experiences of others can help us all move through this together.
We have all spent the last 8 weeks adapting to unprecedented change, and as more change comes our way, we want to continue to be a place of support and trusted information for your business. We will keep moving, and know that our team is here for you always. Thank you for feeding people during times of calm and times of crisis. If you ever have ideas about how we can better support you in this space, please let us know.