I just had an AMAZING conversation to start of 2017 with a new farming member of ours. We had a conversation that opend off of our eyes here at LVC. We NEVER even thought of the benefits that this farming member has cracked into. Because of this, I asked him to explain more and here is what he said.
Farmer: See Matt, I sell Heirloom tomatoes and some other vegetables, but I do not sell any other products. So if a buyer wants to buy multiple products, they might not call me. But with LVC, it is totally different. I was excited to join LVC to sell more of my products and I have been very happy with that so far but I did not expect this plan to come to me all of a sudden.
Me: Wait so what is it that happened?
Farmer: When you told me that there was a referral program that LVC actually will pay its members to bring on new members…I thought that was a GREAT benefit. The money was great but the indirect benefit would grow sales. See I go and try to sell my products to a buyer and a question I commonly get is, “Do you have any other products” I realized he was let down that all I could offer him at the time were tomatoes. He had no other option but to call one of the large distributors and place an orders. I knew that he was also ordering some tomatoes just because of the ease of ordering all from one spot. So I QUICKLY decided to take advantage of the LVC Referral Program.
Me: So I am guessing you want to call a couple farming buddies?
Farmer: A Couple, I’m talking about calling all of my farming friends. I realized, if I could find some other farmers with diversified products in my area, then these buyers were more likely to buy my products. I found a lamb farmer, a cattle farmer who also had chicken and pork. I found a cheese farmer, a friend of mine who made jams and jellies, and a couple of my Veggie buddies, just in case I could not get all the crops needed and I had them sign up to be a part of LVC. They were excited because it was a free membership. I was excited to get some extra cash in my pocket but now my buyers are going to buy more from me and our relationship grows stronger because I can bring them great producers that they can source from easily.
Me: Wow that is incredible. We have been doing this for some time now and I have never heard of the strategy…It is brilliant and I wish I would have thought of it to share before today. You basically created your own Co-op, benefit from the ability to access more markets and sell with more products, but you receive NONE of the headache. You are not working for anyone else but your self. You are in full control. Amazing!
Farmer: That is exactly right BUT THAT IS NOT ALL!
Me: There is more?
Farmer: Oh yeah! I then realized that your (LVC’s) referral program for its members was not just for the farmers I brought on but it was also for the buyers I brought on. So I can go to local restaurant who I have tried to sell my tomatoes too but this time, I’ll have the backing of LVC. Now when I go to sell my tomatoes I can let buyers know that they can get on LVC and access not just my local products but all of the local products they need. Obviously I ask the buyer to make sure they buy my products if they are available.
Me: And have buyers made agreements like that with you before?
Farmer: Oh yeah. Buyers, when they get good products, never want to go anywhere else. They do not want surprises and I would put my tomatoes up against most other growers.
Me: So let me get this straight… You sell your own products and as an LVC member, you have created Benefits that even WE did not realize until you shared them. This is why I LOVE working with local farmers! Since we are going to share this conversation, can you share your top 5 benefits as an LVC member?
Farmer: Just 5… let me think…
- I can easily complete transactions with buyers all over my local area and even some throughout the country. I am not Tech Savvy so this has been easier for me than even collecting the money myself. That was like pulling teeth.
- I use LVC to gain the same selling benefit that comes from being a part of any co-op. the biggest difference is I get paid for bringing on my farming friends and when I bring a buyer on to purchase my products…I get paid again!
- I get paid on time. Usually when I sell wholesale it is like I have to track down every penny. This allows payments to come through smoothly.
- Buyers buy more from me because they can come to your website (www.LocalVendorsCoalition.org) and get other products they need.
- This is something that is needed for small farmers to stay alive as corporate and mega farms come in and crush us. It is the ultimate Co-Op and it is HANDS DOWN, the most beneficial Co-Op ANY farmer can be a part of.
Me: That is incredible, do you mind if I share this conversation with others in our organization?
Farmer: Do I get a referral on anyone who comes on because of it? (laughing) I am joking about getting the referrals, I have enough buyers and sellers that I can still reach out to. right now I really hope more farmers and Buyer take advantage of what you are offering. A free membership and fees lower than any other broker I have worked with… it is a no brainier.
Me: Well we can not get you the referrals from anyone who hears this conversation but have you thought of using your social media to blast out this information you can as well.
Farmer: Interesting, could you send over some information on how I can do that?
Me: Yeah We will create a templet for you to share and I will send you this conversation when it is online so you can share as well. On the end of the conversation I will put all of the contact information so that farmers or buyers can sign up and the local supporters can share it more.
Farmer: That is great and thank you for all that you and your team at LVC do for us farmers. It sure has been hard before I found LVC.
Me: Thanks for your kind words and we will talk soon
Farmer: So long!
Well that was an interesting conversation and Might have made my year to hear how LVC is helping local farmers and local Buyers. Obviously the referral program is something that could benefit each member of LVC but the connectivity of Buyer and Seller is the first of its kind. Let us know what best discribes you below.
Are you interested in selling more local products please click here? If you a wholesale purchaser (restaurant, grocery, bulk ordering, etc) and you are interested in becoming a local Purchaser? Or, if you are member of your community who would just really like to have new ways to better support local farmers, check that box and we will get you tied into your local community more.
Either way we thank you for reading and If you could, please share this conversation so others can benefit from this conversation