[Market-farming] Grower's Association?

MAsteveINE MAsteveINE at 207me.com
Wed Mar 9 08:28:57 EST 2011

Roughly 20 years ago I called extension folk in 2 of the 3 counties nearby and asked about
forming a group of greenhouse growers, about a week later we sat down for an afternoon with
three or four other area growers and Mid-Maine Greenhouse Growers was born, within a few 
years there were 100 members and here it is today: http://www.plants4maine.com/

I have been away from the group for a number of years, first as I was traveling the country  in
greenhouse customer service and then retirement; but I will be happy to help any way I can.

Taking apart your list and adding coments; follow up as you see fit:

   a buyer's coop, 
  Growers mix, containers, grow tags, seed, plugs and liners, advertizing

  a communication network (email list and/or website),
  early on the phone company must have loved us! Ill let todays web site speak for the rest.

  educational workshops, 
  each monthly meeting we made a point of having something as subject matter,
  twice early on we put together a weekend conference, done at a local fair grounds
  where campers could stay over, we could hold cookouts and pot lucks, and mine
  the minds of universities, extension, company reps, even brought folk from 
  New Brunswick and then returned the visit.

  farm tours, 
  summer meetings we liked to meet at member farms

  cooperative selling (including institutional sales), 
  we did a promotion including discount cupons  and member lists at the 
  flower show and fairs.

  integrated growing strategies, increasing the number and variety of sales outlets (including extending the season of existing outlets), operation of retail outlet(s), sharing capital resources (such as land, equipment, processing facilities, etc.), buyer education, and more.
  Most all of that in some form, hell I even brought in a "marketing consultant"
  who read us "The Little Train That Could"

    I know there are organizations out there in other places doing some of these things.  Can anyone point me toward other models we might look to as we go about structuring this group and figuring out its mission, purpose, and goals?  


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