[Market-farming] FM's in rural areas

marcy marcy at aculink.net
Sat Feb 12 00:50:56 EST 2005

I'm in a very rural area too and I don't think it's even 40% here. I'd guess
only about 25% of the farmers have a garden. I think it's because most of
them have a spouse working off-farm at a full-time job - mostly teaching or
nursing around here. We have a small grocery store in town with a VERY
limited selection of produce but decent quality. I love shopping there
because I can get the few things I need to buy in just a few minutes and I
don't have to dodge cars on my way through the parking lot with four little
boys. They even carry all the groceries out to your car too. But most people
will drive 45 miles either direction and shop at the grocery chain or
WalMart supercenter where they have a lot more selection of convenience
When we moved here I noticed a huge difference in the whole
health-diet-exercise mentality. I would guess the percentage of people who
smoke is much higher than what I'd seen in the larger metro areas. It seemed
about 20 years behind the times. Then when my chickens started laying, I
found out people around here mostly didn't care about what kind of eggs they
bought, what the chickens ate or if they ever saw the light of day. I was
trying to sell them at $1.50 a dozen 5 around here years ago. Over time I've
found a few people in the area who do care about their food, but by and
large, they'd rather pay $.89 a dozen. So I take them where the demand is
and get $3.00.
It's the same story with produce.  Out here in the country or in town, very
few have gardens of their own. I'm sure in time and with education there
will be more local demand.
I think the farm garden has gone the way of the family milk cow as well as
the small layer flock.
SE Colo
----- Original Message -----
From: "Pat Meadows" <pat at meadows.pair.com>
To: "Market Farming" <market-farming at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Friday, February 11, 2005 9:02 AM
Subject: Re: [Market-farming] FM's in rural areas

> On Fri, 11 Feb 2005 09:42:50 EST, you wrote:
> >
> > So, if it's likely that many rural areas have homes with enough yard
> >to have a garden of some sort, then you must consider the possibility
that the
> >people who shop at your stand will be looking for the cheapest garden
> >that they can find.  Why?  Because they are familiar with the pricing of
> >seeds, they are familiar with potential yield, and they are familiar with
giving a
> >lot of their own yield away.  So, the inherent value of your produce is
> >diminished. I'm sure many of us have heard customers say things like "Oh,
that's too
> >much to pay for a tomato, I could grow them myself."  It is like trying
> >sell retail to a wholesale crowd.  Many times vendors in this situation
end up
> >lowering their prices just to get rid of the items they brought to
> >Hopefully they stay in the black with the bottom line.
> But this isn't necessarily so.  I live in a very, very rural
> area and almost all homes here have room for a garden.  But
> it seems that very, very, very few people garden here:  far
> fewer (proportionally) than in suburban areas where I've
> lived.
> There are reasons for this, no doubt, and the short growing
> season, terrible clay soil that predominates here, and the
> local wildlife (deer) are no doubt parts of the reason.  But
> you *can* garden successfully here:  I do, and a local
> friend has a market garden.
> It just seems that the *idea of gardening* doesn't exist
> much around here.  I'd be willing to bet that fewer than 40%
> of the local dairy farmers have a vegetable garden, for
> example.

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