Partnership Beginning and Working from Two States
Hi Folks, Max here. In this video, Mike and I talk about our early days when we met at Farmers' Markets, and how we took on Farmivore as a joint venture. We also discuss my own choice to pursue farming in Maine, while continuing to play an active role in Farmivore in California. It's a unique arrangement for sure, but we just see that as part of the story. As we work together from the two coasts, we get to experiment with using online sales platforms to run locally-based food distribution. Farming is a difficult field to break into from the outside in our modern world. One of the biggest barriers to entry is the sheer scale one needs to produce in order to sell into conventional ag sales channels. Those channels don't buy bunches -- they buy in pallets. There aren't many buyers for farms with small acreage, which leaves a chasm for new farmers to cross which effectively keeps most new farmers from breaking into the scene.
Mike and I are aware of these systemic barriers to entry, and this is what we are working as entrepreneurs to break down. Small farmers starting out today generally need to hit the streets and find their own customers directly. That's great when it works, and the most common examples are Farmer Markets, Community Supported Agriculture programs (CSA), on-farm sales, and sales to restaurants and local grocery stores. These channels all have their important place in the burgeoning local food economy, and Mike and I have tried all of them in our time as farmers. They all have their pros and cons. We need to continue innovating in this space, and local growers have very few options for selling wholesale to local connectors. In many cases, direct sales end up being very time intensive for a new farmer, at a time when they desperately need to be focusing on their farm.
This is where Farmivore plays a role in building a network of local eaters who want to see our country's food distribution get more localized. Right now, most channels are national, and even cross many borders. We are working from the ground up to invert that system, and allow smaller growers a chance to sell wholesale, relieving them of at least some of the burden of having to sell all their own crops. From two guys that have tried to do it for the last 5-10 years, we can tell you that it is not easy. Farmers Markets can take up an entire day, and sales go up or down depending on weather and other factors. We need to give small farmers a hand at selling their crops.
And there's no need to limit it to small farms either. As we grow this network, we will be honored to turn to some of our larger growers in Ventura County and neighboring regions to offer them an alternative to shipping their food outside the County and State. This is the work -- localize food distribution, bring farmers and eaters together, and empower a new generation to have access to farming as a career. We are desperately overdue folks. Let's make this happen.
Mike and I are excited to be working together in two completely different American communities on different coasts toward the same goal. This movement of localization needs to happen from coast to coast. We can utilize e-commerce technology to make this happen, and what we are building in California can be re-shaped and molded to other communities across the country. I'm already starting micro experiments in Maine. If we can make this happen in dense, urban, Southern California, and sparse, rural Maine, we believe it could happen anywhere. We can see it, now we just need to put in the work. Thanks for being part of it at every meal! Your food choices will determine whether we are successful or not, and the future of American Agriculture.
- Max Becher