Dear Prospective Farm Tour Participant,
Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture (BRWIA) is writing to invite you to apply to participate in the 2015 High Country Farm Tour by filling out the application.
BRWIA aims to support the development of an equitable local food system that protects the environment, builds the local economy, alleviates hunger and poverty, and improves community health. For the last eight years, we have hosted the High Country Farm Tour to strengthen our local food system by connecting producers and consumers, educating the public about sustainable food and agriculture, and providing farmers with opportunities to increase their income.
The benefits of participating in the High Country Farm Tour are numerous. Here are a few of the perks:
· Complimentary Carolina Farm Stewardship Association (CFSA) membership for one year
· Complimentary Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture (BRWIA) membership for one year (details released in Feb.)
· An opportunity to make life-long customers by sharing your story and connecting personally with your visitors
· Ability to establish your brand by linking your products to the place they are produced
· Direct marketing opportunity to sell your products and make a substantial profit
BRWIA believes that by providing community members with opportunities to visit local farms, connect with farmers, and learn more about growing food sustainably, we can create an educated consumer base that supports and advocates for locally-owned and operated farms and businesses.
Last year, the High Country Farm Tour featured 20 participating farms in Ashe, Avery, Watauga, and Caldwell counties and attracted more than 450 farm visitors total over the course of the weekend.
This year, BRWIA plans to improve the farm tour in the following ways:
· Increase the advertising campaign to boost community participation
· Focus on individual counties on different days to streamline promotion and reduce the commitment from Farms
· Offer more volunteers to help participating farms with necessary tasks before and during the tour.
· Offer participating farms a workshop specifically designed to boost on-farm sales, secure long-term customers, and develop marketing tools to improve your unique branding strategies
· Participating farmers are also invited to serve on a Farmer Committee to help BRWIA improve the Tour
The 2015 High Country Farm Tour is a wonderful opportunity to educate consumers about the importance of sustainable agriculture and local food while also increasing income through on-the-farm sales and advertising. If you are interested in strengthening our local food system, we hope you will consider participating in the 2015 High Country Farm Tour. Please return the application by Saturday, February 28, 2015.
Suzanne Fleishman & Carol Coulter