2019 Local Hero outreach update

12/17/18

As we look ahead to next year, we want to share some new plans with you that will improve our consumer-focused outreach and promotional efforts.

In 2019, we will stop producing the printed Locally Grown: Farm Products Guide. In its place, we will produce a suite of new print materials, and we will focus resources on improving and promoting CISA’s online guide.

Over the past several years, we have taken a hard look at CISA’s promotional work, both in partnership with marketing experts and through conversations with many of you. We have conducted market research, completed a communications audit, and developed a new communications plan. We have heard from many of you that the pool of consumers who choose local food and farm products needs to grow. You need new customers at your farm stands, farmers’ markets, and CSAs, and more shoppers looking for locally grown products at grocery stores, restaurants, and other outlets.

We need a fresh approach in order to reach new shoppers, re-engage people who have drifted away, and expand the purchases of existing customers. Ceasing publication of the print Farm Products Guide will free up staff time and financial resources to produce new materials that will be more engaging, specific, and responsive to consumer interests and needs.

What’s happening instead:

  • Online guide improvements: we are improving the search function on the online guide and adding advanced search functions that will enable users to filter search results according to their specific needs. We will also be devoting resources next year to search engine optimization and to more promotion of the online guide.
  • New print materials:
    • A new seasonal booklet series that will contain seasonal crop information, recipes, Local Hero profiles, and other content that will drive interest in local food and farms. This will be distributed broadly to grocery stores, libraries, and other community centers.
    • Crop- and sales outlet-specific information sheets that will highlight particular areas of interest to consumers and which we will make available seasonally: for example, a map of pick-your-own locations, a guide to CSAs, maple producers, etc. These will be geared towards bringing new people along in their local food purchasing.

And, of course, we will continue our regular promotional work: paid advertising, weekly Local Hero spotlights on WRSI, member profiles, our email newsletter and active social media presence, building sales connections between farms and buyers, and so on.

We are committed to promoting and driving traffic to all our members. We are open to feedback and thoughts about how we can do this as we work to make our marketing materials more effective tools for bringing new people in and encouraging people to go deeper in their local food and farm product purchasing. We look forward to continuing to work with all of you — please keep your eyes open for your Local Hero member renewal packets, which will be arriving in your mailboxes in January!

Devon Whitney-Deal
Local Hero Program Manager
(413) 665-7100, ext. 22

Claire Morenon
Communications Manager
(413) 665-7100, ext. 16

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