selling locally vs trucking
David Hine (email@example.com)
Mon, 03 Jun 1996 21:59:23 +1000
In reply to my request for assistance in finding a substitute package for
the 58 litre styros we use for marketing herbs, Bill Duesing wrote
suggesting that we focus on local sales. Others have replied questioning the
soundness of this.
Selling locally is an article of faith with some. My experience is that
there is little evidence that this would reduce the environmental impact of
making a living from horticulture. Reducing the impact is essential, but if
I deliver produce regionally, the environmental cost per unit would probably
rise.Sometimes I feel caught between the desperate who dont want to consider
the application of their ideology, and those who are using delay and review
to obstruct.And sometimes I'm happy contributing to the improvement of
agriculture especially conventional agriculture since it uses most of the
land/produces most of the food/causes damage on that scale.Market Farm and
others talked about the implications of selling at home.Market Farm also
implied,and I'll say clearly that the social organization we have now and
the increasing urbanization is not the fault of farmers.Farmers cannot
afford land where they should be located because of economic and political
decisions made by others.And as MF suggested we all like to eat a variety of
including some transported therefrom other climates. Though there is merit
in teaching aboout the political economy of food, we can't wait for the
community to change their habits.
I believe that the production and marketing systems of food will never be a
big issue for most people when they buy food. Probably those systems should
be both environmentally sound and invisible.At least its my view that this
is what most people want.No one wants to be seen as having the poor taste to
prefer exploitive businesses.
As a result, marketing locally(CSA?) should start not with commodity
production,but with market research.I know that my herbs have to be good
value to my customers, but also that I need to meet the requirements they
have in thier business. I sell more by my clients overall requirements, than
by convincing them of the ethics of my production system. This may mean for
CSA that the commodities offered locally to restaurants for example are't
as important as continuity of supply, the reliability of the invoicing
system, the time and energy involved in doing business with a given grower
vs. the overall value of the goods purchased and other issues.This business
approach has been developed under the term total quality management. It has
a lot to offer small agricultural producers.
If you're involved in horticulture for a living , you are probably spending
about 30% of your energy on production issues, the rest on marketing and
business maintenance.If you focus on that 30% at the expense of the
rest......it could cost you your business.
I did get a reply or two on the packages, and some notes that others had not
had correct addresses. I will still welcome suggestions on them.
David, Heather, and Matthew Hine
Atkins Rd, Cawongla
via Kyogle, NSW, Australia 2474
ph: 61 066 337162.