I will go ahead and admit that I have always had this gypsy/hippie part of my personality and a more artistic/design based side. This is more repressed during the day though. As it turns out, when you work at a lender, they generally don’t want you to get too abstract with things like farm financials, so I spend my day working within the manuals, being practical, making decisions based off of numbers and facts, etc… Then I get to go home to the farm, and not only is that my serenity because I get to be outside with the animals and enjoy the peace of the countryside, but is is also my inspiration for our brand.
When I was telling my aunt from a more conventional ag background about my ideas for this farm, she said that is all seemed very “earthy crunchy.” I am assuming what she means is it didn’t sound like conventional farming and to me that is OK because consumers are asking for more variations in how their meat is raised. I have been working hard with our farm, website, farmers market setups and signage to convey a feeling similar to one you get when you walk into Whole Foods, First Watch or Chipotle. For the record I don’t eat at Chipotle or agree with their messaging about agriculture, but they do have one heck of a brand when people will pay $9 for a burrito when there is a Taco Bell around the corner selling them for $2.
We want to tell the story of agriculture, probably like most of you, without bashing any different type of production, but rather showing the options. I want to tell it via my pictures posted on social media, the blogs and recipes on the website, in person at the farmers markets, etc…. The backdrop for the information being shared though is the picture of my son hugging his goat, a great recipe for pan seared lamb or the old quilt and rustic signage for our farmers market display. I want our farm’s presence to evoke a feeling matching what we are doing on the farm, which is sustainable, natural and wholesome, and so I specifically use (and edit) photos to make sure we are staying on course with that. We also want a brand that is strong enough that restaurants can name us on the menu showing they promote local foods and feel confident that our brand will not degrade theirs.
So I challenge all of you if you are selling directly to the consumer or just selling beans at the river to look at your brand and understand the story you are telling about yourself and your farm. Make sure it matches your own spirit — even if it is not quite as free as mine. 😉
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