New Farmer Toolbox: Marketing

Please note: this project was supported by the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program from 2010 to 2013.

In North Carolina, local marketing represents one of the best opportunities for new and beginning farmers to succeed in a new farm enterprise. The challenges and opportunities for new farmers in North Carolina are largely identical to the challenges and opportunities involved in producing and selling food to local markets. Creative marketing strategies can enhance the competitiveness of new and beginning farmers. This project will develop new, North Carolina-focused sustainable farm marketing resources for new and beginning farmers. Some existing resources are listed below.

Got to be NC 

“The Goodness Grows in North Carolina program is the official marketing program for the NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The primary goal of the program is to assist in the promotion of North Carolina Agriculture as a whole and increasing the visibility of NC products by working with growers and companies that produce NC agricultural products.”

Marketing Local Food

NC Cooperative Extension Local Food Portal page linking to information and resources for marketing to local markets.

Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, N.C. State University

Gary Bullen, Extension Associate, has developed a program around local food marketing, Retail Ready for Local Farm Products, available here.

Virtual Farmers’  Markets

There are growing numbers of virtual farmers markets across North Carolina. These programs link growers with individual consumers, chefs, and sometimes institutional markets, depending on the business plan of the market. Input “online farmers’ markets” or “virtual farmers’ markets” into your preferred web search engine to locate programs in your area.

Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (SSAWG)

Organic Vegetable Production and Marketing in the South, with Alex Hitt of Peregrine Farm (DVD – scroll to bottom of page)

ATTRA: the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service

(NEW) Marketing Tip Sheets, includes:

  • Tips for Selling at Farmers Markets
  • Tips for Selling at Roadside Stands
  • Tips for Selling on the Internet
  • Tips for Selling through CSAs – Community Supported Agriculture
  • Tips for Selling to Aggregators/Grower Marketing Co-ops
  • Tips for Selling to Grocery Stores
  • Tips for Selling to Institutional Markets
  • Tips for Selling to Produce Brokers
  • Tips for Selling to Produce Distributors
  • Tips for Selling to Produce Packing Houses
  • Tips for Selling to Restaurants
  • Tips for Selling to: Wholesale Buyers at Terminal Markets
  • Tips for Selling with: Agritourism and “Pick-Your-Own”

Many other ATTRA publications useful to beginning farmers are available at prices ranging from $1.95 to $5.95, or through a $50 annual membership that provides unlimited access.

New Entry Sustainable Farming Project

Plain Language Guide to Selling at a Farmers Market (downloads a pdf file)

This project was supported by the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, grant #2010-49400-21733. To learn more about this program, and to find more resources for beginning farmers, please visit