By Sustainable Solano
We’re always looking for ways to support our local food system, so we turned to Lisa Murray with the Pleasants Valley Agriculture Association for some of her favorite tips on how to support local farms. Here are her suggestions:
Follow your favorite farms on social media and/or subscribe to their email lists.
Thanks to the internet, smartphones and social media, gone are the days when it was hit or miss if we happened to catch a farm stand open on our way home from work. Every farm now has either a website or a social media presence — or both. One of the ways you can support local farmers is to sign up for their email list and to follow them on social media so that you can receive alerts of what they are selling and when (and in some cases, where!), and to be notified of any new classes or events they are offering.
Attend farm classes, events and tours year-round.
Many of the farms in Vacaville offer classes, events and tours in both summer and non-summer months. Attending these events is a great way you can support local farms. If there is something that you would like to learn and you don’t see if offered, ask the farmer if they have ever considered offering that particular class. They may consider it and it may become popular, with you to thank!
Help farmers with their marketing!
Farmers are busy taking care of their land, their crops, fixing tractors and caring for animals. Marketing is last on their list. But you can help get the word out about your favorite local farmer by posting about their great [peaches/olive oil/wine/ strawberries/whatever!] on social media. Make sure you tag the farm’s page or account or include their address/contact info. If you include a photo or video of their incredible strawberries or lavender oil, you get extra bonus points! And the farmers will really appreciate the extra help getting the word out. The more business they get, the more they can keep planting and growing and making the things that are so good for all of us.
Buy local farm goods at local stores and cafes in town.
Keep an eye out for local farm goods at your favorite local cafe, restaurant or deli. It’s a win-win-win. The store wins, the farmer wins, and you win. And if your favorite cafe, store or deli doesn’t carry local farm goods, let the owner/manager know that you’d be interested in purchasing from them if they did. Store owners are happy for the feedback and farmers appreciate the extra business.
Leave a positive review on Yelp, Google or Facebook.
Can’t get enough of the delicious watermelon from the fruit stand on your way home from work? Leave a positive review on Yelp, Google or Facebook. Not only will you make your favorite farmer’s day, you will alert the people who are hesitant to make the trek out to the farm that it’s a great idea! And if you add a photo (or two or three) along with your positive review, you’ll really rake in the good agriculture karma points!
Lisa Murray is a filmmaker and the owner of the SkyGirl SoMe Marketing Agency in Vacaville. She is also the founder and festival director of the Ag & Art Film Festival premiering this year in Vacaville.