Lincoln, Neb. —Nebraska Extension is providing marketing support to farmers experiencing a decline in sales as a result of COVID-19 through the Buy Fresh Buy Local Nebraska program.
Throughout the month of March, farmers who sell meat, produce and other foods to restaurants and schools saw their sales dwindle as businesses temporarily reduced operations or closed altogether in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. With farmer’s markets – another key market for many farmers – looking uncertain in 2020, many farmers are turning to online sales to boost their business.
Buy Fresh Buy Local Nebraska is a membership-based food marketing, promotion, and education program that connects Nebraskans with member farmers near them. The program is offering membership scholarships to up to 100 Nebraska farm businesses for the 2020 season. This one-time opportunity is first-come, first-serve. The application deadline is April 8.
“During this unprecedented time, our local food system is more vital than ever,” said Skylar Falter, program coordinator. “We want to support producers to do what they do best -- producing exceptional foods for Nebraskans -- by expanding their marketing reach.”
During the past two weeks, the Buy Fresh Buy Local website has received twice as much traffic as normal, which likely means that consumers are looking for ways to find local food, Falter said. Buy Fresh Buy Local members receive benefit of expanded reach, technical assistance, and additional promotion.
The first 100 producers to sign up will receive sponsored memberships to Buy Fresh Buy Local Nebraska for one year. Anyone who wants to invest in vibrant food culture is invited to join, whether that be family farmers and ranchers, farmers’ markets across the state, locally owned grocers, co-ops, restaurants, breweries, wineries and other retailers that support agriculture.
Member benefits include:
- Connect with new customers through the Online Food Guide & Member Map
- Licensing rights to the Buy Fresh Buy Local logo for 12 months
- Promotion via the Buy Fresh Buy Local website, e-newsletter, and social media channels
- Inclusion in the Buy Fresh Buy Local member-only listserv and Facebook group
- Laminated member certificate and 10 signs for farmers’ market booths
- Inclusion in a network of more than 80 farmers, ranchers and other food businesses
- Supports Buy Fresh Buy Local’s work to expand demand and market access for Nebraska-grown foods
For the past 10 years, Buy Fresh Buy Local Nebraska’s efforts have been to support Nebraska’s farmers, ranchers and producers to increase their knowledge of food safety regulations, as well as to increase their market share in both rural and underserved urban communities. Buy Fresh Buy Local Nebraska is developing a sustainable food system that nurtures resilient relationships across the local food supply chain.
Apply for the scholarship and learn more about the program at http://buylocalnebraska.org/scholarship