Building a Local Food Brand


Why most people don’t give a Crap and how to win them over anyway

I’m going to post a section from a book Nick Burton & I wrote together called The Bootstrap Farmers Guide to Farming the Future, which sums up this whole dilemma:

I used the downtime in my cubicle to think deeply about the gaps in the food marketplace. We know the food system is full of problems, so it wasn’t really a matter of finding a single issue, it was simply a matter of identifying the root problem of these issues. Once I was able to identify that, I could start working on a solution.


I realized the root of most of the problems in our food system was right in front of my hypocritical face.


I’d be on my soapbox, preaching to friends and family about the benefits of local, organic food and why we should buy that way. (Being on a self-improvement path, you can get a little preachy as it’s all new and exciting.) But even my own purchasing decisions didn’t measure up to my expectations of others. I’d frequent the delicious food trucks on my old campus, get the free buffet at the local bar on Fridays, but then on Saturdays I’d pad my moral righteousness by shopping at Whole Foods.  


I know my experience is just like that of many others. We WANT to do the right thing—we truly do. BUT there’s also a hierarchy of human priorities that the majority of us live by. Our system is largely a result of those priorities. I’ve identified and ordered these as follows:


  1. Convenience – Example: How many times have you paid more than $3 for a bottle of WATER?  
  2. Price – Buying all organic/local means a much higher percentage of our budget goes toward food. This means less of other things.
  3. Health Benefits – All things equal, we’ll choose the healthier version.
  4. Environmental Cost – I’ll go out on a limb and say even for many vegans this priority list holds true. Soy products have been devastating to natural habitats in Central and South America, which is a real inconvenient truth.

So, if we want people to eat local, healthy food, it needs to be convenient FIRST. The sheer domination of fast food joints bears this out. Leaving the privileged bubble where some of us can actually afford organic (even if it’s purchased at Walmart), many people have multiple mouths to feed on a minimum wage and realistically do not have the budget or access to top-quality products.


Furthermore, many people don’t even consider the last two points—health benefits and environmental costs—because convenience and price are so critical to them. So how do we deal with that? It starts with moving past complaining about these preferences or waiting for them to change.

Once I was clear on the hierarchy of consumers’ desires, I was able to identify the gap that existed, so I could work from a place of practicality instead of idealism.   


Get Off the Soapbox

People just don’t like being told what to do or why they are wrong. The best we can do is assist in people coming to their own conclusions. Even using industry terms like no-till, permaculture or regenerative farming don’t connect with the ‘mainstream’  in the way that we’d want it to.  People are mostly looking to for things they are used to, but with a unique spin on it. 

Living in a rural part of the country where it’s dominated by Jesus and BBQ, I know I have some work to do in reaching people who aren’t even looking to be reached.  This has led to the development of my business models beyond the intitial idea of Veg2Bowl. 


My Community of Farm Fusion Business Models with Unique Personalities for Reaching the Widest Market, Most Profit & Ultimate Lifestyle

Disclaimer: While life doesn’t always work out exactly as planned, this is to serve as an example of what we were doing so you can imagine your own version of what this might look like for you.

Through 1 central kitchen, we are creating multiple lines of business to different markets. All operated by the same core people.

Craven Local Food Market

Delivery: Healthier eating made easy with subscription meal plans. “Farm fusion meals grown, cooked & delivered to your door”

Farmers Market: ‘The perfect balance between healthy & delicious” encouraging repeat business with our returnable jar program.

Seed to Shaker

Farmers Market: ‘Drink Your Herbs’. Specialty craft herbal infusions for mocktails at Farmers Market.

The Farm Fusion Experience

Private events hosted at our farms featuring offerings of Craven Local Food Market & Seed to Shaker

‘The Farm Fusion Experience’

A future where we would host pre-sold private events at our farms complete with the offerings from Craven Local Food Market & Seed to Shaker.

A Versatile Ecosystem

We can utilize the food truck for any of those businesses for private parties or catering our offering to a particular event. The same can be said for our commercial kitchen and our cafe space.

As always, it all begins with lifestyle design blended with market opportunity. But this approach goes for maximum leverage and synergies since it is all run by the same core of people through the same infrastructure of the food truck, kitchen and retail space.  

Be empathetic to where people are at in own journey.  Be willing and adaptable enough to reach them with a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th attempt.