November 15, 2011 by
It’s been a busy couple of months at Vibrant Farms…new baby calves, new fences, new horses and new barn floors to make for more hay storage. We've also had someone come in to talk about increasing our soil nutrients EVEN MORE!! It’s been a very exciting couple of months!
What’s been on my mind lately is the delicate balance between growing as a business, and staying small, accessible and “family run”. I have always built my business with the thought that eventually I may not be the one to run it (given my age and tendency to get distracted!) I’ve always believed it could have the capacity to grow because of my unique marketing approach which I have put much thought into.
Recently I’ve realized that what makes a business great as a small business does not necessarily translate to what makes it great as a large business, I am a huge advocate of diversity and options and have always believed there is enough to go around. In my experience however, that is in stark contrast to how most consumers want to purchase things. We run very busy lives, we are out and about and want to have it conveniently packaged and labeled. The most prominent example that comes to mind is the organic label, which was meant to replace intimate conversations with farmers about how they grow their food. Then came the naturally raised label, and then the local, and then the raw, and then the green, and then, well… you get the idea…we’ve labeled ourselves into a whirlwind.
If I were to go big and sell to a food distribution company, have it nicely packaged and presented, run sales on it, and call it grass fed organic beef, it would probably sell like hot cakes. I would be sitting pretty…. UNTIL someone somewhere finds a way to do it cheaper and then I’d be out to lunch, and we’d continue the perpetual cycle of the cheap food, easy-access policy. New ideas keep coming forth about how to grow crops naturally, effectively and efficiently while still giving back to the soil, but we’re soon going to run out of labels. Today it’s Better Beef, tomorrow it’s Better than Organic Beef! If I form an Organic Grass Fed Beef marketing board, then as one of my mentors says “The death of the organization is the organization itself”. There again we’d play into the game of taking what is a small farm with a unique product operation and try to make it accessible to people who have less than three seconds to consider what beef to buy in the grocery store.
I know that as consumers we want the best food out there, and rightly so. The dichotomy exists when we ask for one thing and then act in accordance with an entirely different paradigm. But the frustration is how one can afford to get this great food, if they are not busy busy busy working their big executive jobs? The answer: I don’t know.
All I know is that if we want good food, we have to allow for diversity in farming. We must support the ones we believe in, we must pay a fair price, and we must take responsibility for our health. Finally, we must take it upon ourselves to become food educated because the conversations that are had when people are inquisitive and ask questions are the ones that lead to better understanding and greater knowledge.
And there you have it, straight from the Farmer’s Daughter (and fellow consumer)
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