No doubt Covid has changed our lives. Whether it comes back in a second wave or just lingers on is anyone’s guess. One thing is certain. Some if not most people are more cautious. Fortunately farmers markets are considered an essential service and are being permitted to open (at least here in Alaska). The question is what percentage of the original buying demand will persist.
Most farms in Homer sell directly to restaurants and the public at the Homer Farmers Market. Until everyone is comfortable being back out in public, both those income streams will likely be affected. We think it is a good time to explore food network alternatives. I wrote an article on the Open Food Network and have continued to explore CSA software.
CSA stands for community-supported agriculture. It can be implemented on a per farm basis or as a group of farms. Either way the idea is to get food directly from farm to buyer without a middleman. We like it because it lets growers charge more and end consumers pay less. It’s a win win. It is also attractive in these Covid times as buyers can simply pick up produce at a designated time and place. They can setup their orders online.
There are a number of vendors to choose from. Some operate platforms in the cloud and others provide software to integrate with your Facebook page or your business website. Pricing is all over the place and ranges from straight monthly fees to percentage of sales and combinations of both.
The Young Farmers Coalition put out an excellent PDF summary of direct sales software platforms. Here’s a snippet from their publication:
It’s a good start to what is available with some detailed information about each platform. When we narrow our search as to what we will use, I will put out a post talking about what we chose and why.