GMFN Priorities


GMFN polls its members to determine what our priorities should be. This is a list of our poll completed in March of 2013.


Georgia Mountains Farmers Network
2013 priorities
or what would our Growers Network like to accomplish?

#1 - Host Farmer Gatherings/  Tours (HIGH PRIORITY)
o   DEFINED - Specifically for GROWERS (focused on sharing information)
o   ACCOMPLISHMENTS – we have held 9 of these since January 2012.
o   FUTURE – every other month schedule.

#2 - Cooperative Marketing efforts (HIGH PRIORITY)
o   DEFINED - Develop systems for bulk deliveries to ATL area, restaurants, etc.
o   ACCOMPLISHMENTS – established a focus on retail rather than wholesale markets.
o   FUTURE - Working to expand Locally Grown to Gainesville area. (or other nearest urban market)

#3 - Hosting Public Events (HIGH PRIORITY)
    • DEFINED – Goal is to increase the customer base and awareness
o   ACCOMPLISHMENTS - The Georgia Mountains Farm Tour helped create a sense of unity of purpose and pride in our region.
o   FUTURE – hosting and growing tour again in 2013.

#4 - Organizing specific and technical workshops  (HIGH PRIORITY)
o   DEFINED – Using both local farmers and experts from other areas to host workshops on production and business management topics.
o   ACCOMPLISHMENTS – Haven’t done this yet.
o   FUTURE – Compile a list of technical workshop topics and speakers and select and schedule those in highest demand.

#5 - Coordinating Bulk Orders (MEDIUM PRIORITY)
o   DEFINED - To increase availability and reduce shipping on amendments, supplies, seeds, potatoes, onions)
o   ACCOMPLISHMENTS – One bulk order completed February 2012. Ten orders - $1,400. Didn’t have enough interest in 2013.
o   FUTURE – Try again in 2014.

#6 - Create Forums for Farmer Communication (MEDIUM PRIORITY)
o   DEFINED – To improve communication and networking between farmers throughout the region.
o   ACCOMPLISHMENTS – Created Blog Site that archives all communications, and allows us to post event announcements, calendars, etc. (over 2 dozen posts so far) A Yahoo listserve was not successful due to lack of sign ups. Also have a Facebook account that has 56 likes, not used much by farmers but good way to communicate with the public.
o   FUTURE – keep doing what we’re doing.

#7 - Acquisition and Sharing of Equipment (MEDIUM PRIORITY)
o   DEFINED – Identify equipment to purchase with GMFN funds or develop sharing/rental program between farmers. Other examples -  compost tea sprayers, bed shapers, others?
o   ACCOMPLISHMENTS – Purchased an Earthway Seeder that can be borrowed by any member of the GMFN.
o   FUTURE – Working on a barter bank or other system of borrowing/trading equipment amongst farms in the area.

#8 - Organization of Crop Mobs (MEDIUM PRIORITY)
o   Labor assistance. Bringing volunteers to your farm to have them work on a project or weed for an afternoon.

# 9 - Obtaining or Producing Organic Feed (MEDIUM PRIORITY)
o   It is difficult and costly to obtain organic feed easily.



NEW PRIORITIES
#10 - Increase capacity for local food processing
o   Work to have a licensed processing facility where farmers can jar, can, freeze and do other value added processing that they are legally allowed to sell.
o   FUTURE – working on having the Habersham cannery built so that it allows valued added processing. Visit Blairsville cannery to see how they did this.


REMOVED PRIORITIES
Share up-to-date Contact Lists
o   That includes other farmers, but also restaurants who buy local, local suppliers, technical experts, etc.
o   Determined that this isn’t really needed.

Developing Marketing as a Group
    • Co-branding regional products like a logo, identity
    • Seemed to be lumped under Cooperative Marketing efforts






RAW SCORES FROM SURVEY
The survey allowed respondents to pick their top, medium and lower priority items. The numbers below show which items received highest scores in each category. 

HIGHEST PRIORITY
HOST FARM TOURS (Specifically for GROWERS focused on sharing information)
9
COOPERATIVE MARKETING EFFORTS (ex. – expand Locally Grown to Gainesville market or other systems for bulk deliveries to ATL area)
9
HOSTING PUBLIC EVENTS (to increase customer base / awareness)
6
ORGANIZING SPECIFIC AND TECHNICAL WORKSHOPS  (especially interested in business trainings)
6
DEVELOPING MARKETING AS A GROUP  (co-branding regional products like a logo, identity)
5
MEDIUM PRIORITY
COORDINATING BULK ORDERS (reduce shipping on amendments, supplies, seeds, potatoes, onions)
8
CREATE FORUMS FOR MORE FREQUENT FARMER COMMUNICATION
8
HOSTING PUBLIC EVENTS (to increase customer base / awareness)
7
ACQUISITION AND SHARING OF EQUIPMENT
7
ORGANIZATION OF CROP MOBS
7
OBTAINING OR PRODUCING ORGANIC FEED
6
ORGANIZING SPECIFIC AND TECHNICAL WORKSHOPS  (especially interested in business trainings)
6
LOW PRIORITY
OBTAINING OR PRODUCING ORGANIC FEED
6
ORGANIZATION OF CROP MOBS
5
COORDINATING BULK ORDERS (reduce shipping on amendments, supplies, seeds, potatoes, onions)
4
SHARE UP-TO-DATE CONTACT LISTS (haven’t done this yet)
4

3 comments:

  1. I am in Blairsville, Georgia and would love to see some farm tour sites over this way. Does it cost anything for a farm to sign up to be included on the list?

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  2. Hi Janice, We do not currently require a membership, only a desire to learn and a good attitude. We'd love for you to join us for our next get-together on March 20, 2016. Email Andrew at GMFNfarmtour@gmail.com for more details.

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