Marketing Massachusetts Farms, Crops, and Products

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While we all adjust to the impact of COVID-19, at MDAR, we continue to be committed to promoting your local food and agricultural businesses throughout the state through the “Massachusetts grown and fresher” (MassGrown) brand.  

We have created a new webpage that focuses information to the public: COVID-19: How & Where to Buy Local. It features up-to-date regional links throughout Massachusetts that assists the public to many local delivery and pick-up options.  

cid:image007.jpg@01D608DE.44B9D680Our primary tool, the MassGrown Map, continues to serve the public with locations of Massachusetts retail farms, farmers markets, and more!  Over the past 10 years, the map has been upgraded with new features, categories, and icons (most recently, honey producers).

Since we launched our mobile-friendly version of the map last year, we have seen more than 50% of users now use the map via their phone.  When you open the MassGrown map on a mobile device, and you “allow” it to use your location, it defaults to locations nearest you.

Two years ago, through the collaborative initiative with the MA Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA), we created a specific query for HIP Retailers.  In its first year, the HIP map usage increased overall usage by over least 30%, to over 200,000 unique views in 2019.

With the increase use of the map, we decided to create an online video tutorial that showcases the many new features, such as being mobile friendly, custom searches, and export features.

Retail Farms:  To best serve you and your customers, we need your help to keep the MassGrown map current.  1) Search the map for all the categories that might represent your business. 2) Be sure you are listed with all the crops and products you grow/produce. 3) Is your farm phone and description accurate? 4) Does it includes your website (or Facebook link)? CSA Farms: Have you added drop off locations/or offer deliveries? Let us know.

If your farm is not listed, MDAR offers a marketing survey(.doc) that you can complete to help us promote your business. If you are listed and have edits, please send them to Richard.LeBlanc@mass.gov. We also offer MassGrown marketing materials (which we can send you at a later date).

A few marketing tips to remember in communications to your customers:
1.     Make sure your websites are up to date. Use your website to provide the public assurance that you are aware of the impacts of Covid-19, and outline the precautions you are taking for your customers and employees. Don’t rely on Facebook alone for these updates, as your website is the front door of information to your farm business.

2.     Send us news stories, web-links, posts, and other ways you might be modifying, or selling to the public. We are posting news links on the MDAR’s COVID-19 Resources for Agriculture, under “In the Spotlight: Farms, Food Banks, and Ag Businesses Supporting the COVID-19 Response”. We continue to use our social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) to spread these unique agriculture related stories, to show the public where to purchase local food, and assure them that the industry is following best practices for their safety and health.

3.     Keep our Ag Calendar Photo Contest in mind with your customers. While many people are at home, this is a perfect time to gather their favorite ag-related photos. When you send out an email or outreach via social media, be sure to add the Mass. Ag in the Classroom link and encourage your customers to send their best photos. The more photos submitted by your customers, the better odds of getting your farm included in the 2021 Ag Calendar!

MDAR’s COVID-19 Resources for Agriculture continues to provide farms many useful up to date links and information to keep our agricultural community informed and aware of relevant policies and best practices.


MDAR’s mission is to ensure the long-term viability of agriculture in Massachusetts. Through its four divisions – Agricultural Conservation & Technical Assistance, Agricultural Markets, Animal Health, and Crop and Pest Services – MDAR strives to support, regulate and enhance the rich diversity of the Commonwealth’s agricultural community to promote economically and environmentally sound food safety and animal health measures, and fulfill agriculture’s role in energy conservation and production. For more information, visit MDAR’s website at www.mass.gov/agr.

 

Last updated 4/3/2020