Farmers and their consumers are exploring many creative distribution channels to get the local, sustainably farmed products off the farm and into homes, schools and restaurants.
Several types are illustrated below. The Weston A. Price Foundation Chapter Leader in your area, will know the distribution channels in your area.
Contact your local WAPF Chapter Leader
June 2009 - USDA Report - Facts on Direct-to-Consumer Food Marketing (May 2009)
Feb. 2009 - Jumping on the Next Bandwagon: An Overview of the Policy and Legal Aspects of the Local Food Movement
Buying Clubs or Co-ops
Consumer Based Buying Club or Co-ops – Groups of consumers organize to save time and fuel. They rent trucks or contract with delivery folks to deliver pre-ordered farm food from a variety of farms to central distribution sites. Or, consumers pool their orders to buy discounted bulk food from producers, delivered via UPS, FedEx or Freight. Usually coordinator will be billed, and splits up the bill according to items ordered.
A Cooperative Food-Buying Club Primer
Find a Coop Near You
ID - Six Rivers
OK - Oklahoma Food Cooperative
Entrepreneur Based Club - Entrepreneur sets up large country-wide buying clubs taking web based orders for several farmers and delivering them to consumers at central delivery spots on a weekly, monthly or seasonal basis. Entrepreneur gathers the orders, purchases the food at a discount from the participating farmers and deliver using their own, rented or hired delivery trucks.
CO - High Plains Food
VA - Farm Buyers Club
Farmer Based Club – Farmer sends a price list and delivery date to consumer email list. Consumers order food in advance, using email, and leave payment at the delivery site. Food is delivered periodically (weekly, monthly, quarterly) by the farmer, or the farmer’s agent. Also, consumers drive to the farm themselves or form “car-shares” (one person picks up for many) to save fuel.
PA - Hendricks Farms and Dairy
VA - Mt. Vernon Farm Buying Club
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
Vegetable & Fruit CSA
Consumers buy memberships or subscriptions to a farm’s growing season. They pick up their weekly shares of the farm’s production from the farm or a central location.
What is a CSA
What is Community Supported Agriculture and How Does It Work?
CT - Oxen Hill
IL - Angelic Organics (Farmer John’s CSA)
VA - The Best of What’s Around (Dave Matthew’s CSA)
VT - Groundworks Farm
Meat & Eggs CSA
Consumers buy memberships in the farm, and receive monthly deliveries of a variety of meats and/or eggs. One features innovative “adopt-a-hen” programs, in which member families receive 40 dozen eggs, a stewing chicken, and five gallons of henhouse compost over the course of a year.
Union of Concerned Sciences Fact Sheet
GA - Natures Harmony Farm, More
NY - 8 o’clock Ranch
OH - 2Silos Farm
Find a meat/eggs or vegetable/fruit CSA near you -
Rent-A-Tree - Orchard sells shares by the tree, picks and delivers it to share-holders. For Maple Trees, share owner gets syrup.
MA - Rent Mother Nature (Cocoa, Pistachio, Pecan, Date, Peach, Tangerine, Grapefruit)
MI - EarthFirst Farms (Apple)
Community Supported Fisheries (CSF)
The direct to consumer model works for fishermen as well. Consumers pay in advance for a 12 week subscription and receive a portion of the total catch (harvest) for an average price of $3/lb. This creates sustainable income for the fisherman and decreases overfishing for high dollar fish.
MA - Cape Ann Fresh Catch
ME - Port Clyde Fresh Catch
Community Supported Kitchen (CSK)
Consumer created kitchen to centrally order and prepare farm foods into pre-ordered and pre-paid meals.
CA - Three Stone Hearth
Cow or Goat-Share Operation (or Herd-Share)
Farmer sells “shares “in a cow or herd. Farmer manages and milks cow, providing consumer with their own milk and in some cases, milk products made with their own milk.
Cow or Goat Shares
WAPF Cow Share Brochure
Find a Cow or Goat Share Operation Near You
CO - Windsor Dairy
Outdoor Farmers Market
Communities, hospitals and churches dedicate a space for farmers to bring their products for sale to consumers.
Farmers Markets (Green Markets)
Find a Farmer’s Market Near You
CA - Kaiser Permanente Medical Center
FL - Saturday Morning Market
Indoor Farmers Market
Winter venues for Farmer’s Markets
MN - Old Macdonald Had a Warehouse, E I E I O?
RI - Eat Local – Even in Winter
Mini Farmer’s Markets
Weston A. Price Foundation Chapter Meetings often offer local farmers free exhibit space for product sales or distribution. Check with your local Chapter Leader. Also, the Weston A. Price annual conference offers exhibit space for local sustainable farmers.
On-Line Farmer’s Markets
Farmer or Community set up web-based ordering and payment system. Foods delivered directly to homes or central distribution center – often a consumer’s garage or warehouse.
NH - Virtual Marketplace
PA - Online Farmers' Markets Spring Up in Lehigh Valley, Warren County
Caterer Owned - Caterer owns their own farms to provide their consumers with fresh, local and 100 mile meals.
NY - Great Performances & Katchie Farm
Local food groups are providing unique ways and locations to connect consumers and farmers, provide avenues for local fare shopping and dining, education, job training, food production, community gatherings and business incubation.
VT - Local Agricultural Community Exchange (LACE)
Farm-to-Faith Based Group
Consumers of many faiths and beliefs (and their churches, synagogues and mosques) find local sustainable farms to provide food raised according to their religious beliefs.
Farm-to-Church (Congregationally Supported Agriculture)
KY - Suburban Christian Church Farmer’s Market
MD - One Straw Farm and Episcopal Church of the Messiah
MN - Whole Farm Co-op’s CSA -Congregationally Supported Agriculture
SD - Trinity Lutheran Church
DC - Green Muslims in the District and Groff’s Content Farm
DC - Green Zabiha
WV - Halal Meat Demand Increasing
Kosher Organic Local Foods (KOL)
CA - Dietary Changes Afoot
NY - Wise Organic Pastures
Auctions act as a convenient wholesale outlet that compliments existing retail or wholesale grower activities. They provides an opportunity for small farmers to sell their produce and products without needing to advertise. Buyers include restaurants, farmers market suppliers, institutions and food banks.
OH - Chesterhill Produce Auction
WI - Wisconsin Local Food Network
Farmers deliver food to centralized warehouse, and groups deliver to restaurants, schools, senior citizen centers and caterers.
VA - News Story for Local Food Hub
Farmers resurrect the age-old front door delivery system after reviewing why the practice died out, and providing new accomodations.
FL - Front Door Organics
PA - Apple Valley Creamery - Milkman Making a Comeback
Some grocers see advantages to supporting local farmers. The fresh and local idea is catching on.
VA - Food City& Local Farmers
Farmers sell directly to local hospitals.
CA - Kaiser Permanente and California Hospitals
MI - Henry Ford Hospital
NC - Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project
USA - Food Security
Farmers selling directly to institutional venues like college dining halls and company cafeterias.
Tips: How Your Dining Hall Can Buy Local
Farmer Owned - Farmers own their own restaurants to provide their consumers with prepared meals. Restaurants are both on and off-farm.
CA - FarmReach
CANADA - Ethical Kitchen (Pasture to Plate Beef)
NC - Zelly and Ritz
PA - The Good Life Café
VA - The Restaurant at Potowmack Farm
Farmer Union Owned – Organized farmer groups purchase restaurants and sole source ingredients.
DC - Agraria Restaurant
Non-farmer Owned – Restaurants purchase fresh farm foods directly from the farm.
DC - Farm to Table Food Finders
NJ - Casino chefs going on the hunt for local produce
NY - Stone Barns - Blue Hill New York and Blue Hill at Stone Barns
OR - Tilth Restaurant & Full Circle Farm
USA - Chef's Collaborative
USA - Top 10 Farm-to-Table Restaurants
Farmers sell to private and public schools.
Find a Farm to School Program Near You
CA, CO & DC - Revolution Foods
NC - Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project
OR - Farm-to-School Subsidy Generates Economic Benefits for State
PA - St. Francis University & Blue Goose Farm
VT- Grow it local
Some innovative and mobile farmers are cooking their food and taking it to the streets for direct sales.
MT - La Cense Beef Burger Truck Sells $7 Grassfed Hamburgers on the Streets of Manhattan
Network Farming - Non-Commodity Grain Sales
In this model, wheat farmers networked together and provide direct sales to bakers and buyers, bypassing the commodity market fluctations. They set prices based on production costs.
WA - Shepherd's Grain & CNN Story
Farmer sells products in their off-farm retail store.
VA - Ayshire Farm - The Home Farm Store
Farm posts business hours or “sales by appointment”, and consumers drive to farm to pick up products.
PA – Hendricks Farm & Dairy
VA – Polyface Farms
On-Line Farm Store
Farmer or a group of farmers create a website with shopping carts. Consumer buy online and items are shipped directly to consumer.
MO - US Wellness Meats
MT - La Cense Beef
NE - Green Pastures
On-Phone Farm Sales
Farmers take orders over the phone and ship directly to consumer.
CA – Organic Pastures Dairy