NOFA surveys farm customers

VERMONT — Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA-VT) is conducting a consumer behavior research project, focused on discovering the trends that influence when consumers purchase from farmers markets, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), and farm stands.
A critical player in the local and organic food movement in Vermont since the early 1970s, NOFA-VT aims to develop a better understanding of the buying behaviors surrounding local and organic foods. Direct markets currently face increased competition both from each other and from other retailers vying for the same customers. This consumer behavior study will provide NOFA-VT with actionable suggestions for a marketing campaign as well as information they can share with farmers in order to help them continue to attract customers amid increasing competition.
The project will combine the findings from three focus groups and two online surveys to uncover these critical points that resonate with consumers:
•  What’s important to purchasers?
•  What are the barriers to buying direct from farms?
•  What messaging resonates with buyers?
•  How do key audiences differ?
•  What are the strategic takeaways that will support an effective marketing campaign?
“The focus groups will help us, and the organic farmers we work with, to understand what messages are most compelling for Vermont consumers,” NOFA-VT Executive Director Enid Wonnacott said. “Our goal is to increase the purchase of local and organic products at direct markets in Vermont. Consumer voices are key to help us figure that out.”
The first focus group will take place on Saturday, Aug. 19, from 10:30 a.m.-noon, at Healthy Living Learning Center, at 222 Dorset St., South Burlington. Attendees will receive light refreshments and an incentive of $30. A broad range of focus group participants are sought. If you are interested, you can fill out a short questionnaire online at http://tinyurl.com/ydadre5t to indicate your availability and willingness to participate.
Those selected to participate will ne contacted for further event details. Additional focus groups will take place during September in Rutland and White River Junction, with exact dates and locations coming soon. The details will be posted on the NOFA-VT website.

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