"Apart from being a project indicator, promoting a local food system is key to rural economic development. And the establishment of an aggregation center and an IT platform through which producers can sell directly to consumers (a Consumer-Supported Agricultural system) is key to a local foods approach."
Profession: Market Manager, Hoosier Harvest Market
Home State: Indiana, U.S.
Career Summary: After military service in various countries, Michael worked as a financial consultant for several agencies and businesses, conducting profit and risk analysis. For the past two years, he has served as Market Manager for the Hoosier Harvest Market, an Indiana CSA.
Areas of Expertise: Business analysis, planning, project management, agricultural production and processing (as a small farmer and CSA market manager); leadership. Michael has a BS, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business Purdue University College of Agriculture
Languages Spoken: English, Spanish
Name of project: Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) in Colombia’s Orinoquia Region
SPSP Gratnee: Purdue University
Duration of Assignment: 8 days
Volunteer Assignment and Impact: In Colombia, the market conditions for the majority of food produced by small and medium farmers are poorly developed, negatively affecting prices, quality and energy costs. Political and marketing models favor the large-scale producers and generate food market monopolies. In general, there is no contact between producers and consumers, and the market is very variable and inconstant for prices, supplies and deliveries that normally affect small farmers’ stability and profitability. Access to markets is the main problem for small producers, and there are no regional and local markets for direct to consumer sales. Moreover, there is a lack of information about market contacts and potential market opportunities. ICT tools can help resolve many market issues, providing access to information and contacts, as well as opening opportunities to sell and deliver food products directly to consumers. ITC provides also an opportunity to interest young people in agricultural production and markets. Michael led the promotion of a local food system, investigation of feasibility, and recommendations on steps for establishing a direct to consumer local market system for small farmers and processors. Specifically, Michael recommended the following steps:
- Identify 5 - 10 farmers in the Meta region that want to be responsible for the administrative management of the food hub (This will be your first Board of Directors);
- Identify a centralized aggregation location;
- Develop sub-aggregation points to create communication and trust among food hub membership;
- Find local businesses to partner with for order distribution to retail customers, or wholesale marketplaces that will help develop farmer coordination to fill wholesale orders;
- Determine if Local Food Marketplace will be able to fulfill technical needs; and
- Start your online marketplace!
However, while initially Michael was seeking to link Unillanos and the Meta government with the application developers that Hoosier Harvest Market has used Local Food Marketplace, he found a much more appropriate source in Alex Cordona, Colombian-American founder of The Supply Chain Knowledge Company and his new platform called 47FARMS.