Small scale sustainable farmers continuously face an ongoing struggle to create and maintain relationships with buyers. While the barrier for entry into direct farmer to consumer platforms like farmers markets can be fairly low and transparent, selling to schools, restaurants, stores, and medical facilities can be far more challenging. To help address this challenge, Georgia Organics is hosting Selling to Schools Workshops throughout the state this year.
The first workshop took place March 21 at the Gainesville City Schools office. Approximately, 30 farmers, educators, and school nutrition staff attended the training. Georgia Organics Farm to School Director Kimberly Della Donna, Farmer Services Director Michael Wall, and Billy Mitchell from the National Farmers Union co-hosted the event.
Attendees learned about Georgia Organics’ Farm to School program, 200 Organic Farms Campaign, food safety best practices, and tips for selling to schools directly. “This is new territory and a learning experience for Georgia Organics,” says Farm to School Coordinator Kimberly Koogler. “Farmers and School Nutrition Directors are rarely in the same room. We are truly helping farmers and school nutrition staff form relationships in an authentic way.”
Following the workshop, attendees were invited to stay, eat, and participate in a round table discussion with local School Nutrition Directors. During this discussion, Directors told farmers what produce they were looking for and the requirements farmers need to meet for purchase. “The key to any successful farm is relationships,” says Wall. Relationships are imperative for Georgia farmers to increase selling opportunities. Sign up for the Georgia Organics “Grower News” newsletter HERE to be informed about upcoming grower trainings.
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Georgia Organics began as a growers association, and farmers remain at the core of our organization. We seek to promote the prosperity of sustainable growers and ranchers through a wealth of direct services like our resource library, our farmer hotline, and our workshops and trainings. A Farmer Membership not only gives you the benefits listed below, but makes you eligible for individual support from our Farmer Services team. Note: 100% of the income from our Farmer Memberships directly fund our Farmer Services work.