Forget ‘Whole Paycheck’?

The linked article below tells of Whole Foods’ campaign to let America know of their “cheaper” prices and is interesting news on a few fronts.
One, that the world’s leading natural and organic food store is sharing price comparisons and acknowledging the need to identify costs to their shoppers. Co-CEO Mackay says, “For a long time Whole Foods had the field to ourselves, pretty much. That was nice, but we don’t any longer,” he said on an earnings call with investors. “So we’re adapting to the reality of the marketplace.”

Secondly this: the chain is lowering its prices, particularly on produce.
This may be an indicator of the strength of the farmers market movement that has led WF to become more competitive on fresh produce. That may seem a far jump for some of my readers, but since it was not an issue when they competed only with other grocery stores, I am inclined to partly credit the energy of the increased number of farmers market outlets for fresh produce for one of the reasons for this.
Or, it may be that the chain feels that they can reduce their costs by reducing their waste in produce (reducing spoilage is an area that stores should always be working on to increase profits) or (sigh) maybe the chain feels it can ask for lower prices from farmers/producers more easily than companies from whom they buy value-added products.

I’d love to hear others thoughts on this news and how they think it affects farmers markets and other direct marketing outlets.

Forget ‘Whole Paycheck’—This Grocery Chain Now Beats Many Competitors’ Prices | TakePart” target=”_blank”>Whole Foods Story

Harvest of Change

An engaging interactive story on today’s agribusiness sector from the Des Moines Register and USA Today.

Amid all the challenges, farmers find lucrative markets shaped by shifting consumer tastes. Farmers markets, where consumers can interact directly with the growers of their food, expanded steadily in the USA from 1994 to 2014, almost quintupling to 8,268, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In 2012, fresh fruits and vegetables sold directly to consumers were a $1.3 billion industry, up 8% since 2007, the census found. That same year, organic food sales reached about $27 billion, according to the USDA, up from $11 billion in 2004.

link to the 5-part story in The Register

Harvest of Change.

Designlines judges food cart design at The Stop’s Night Market

Toronto: More than a charitable event for gourmands, the Night Market is a true mesh of the design and food communities: each of the chef’s carts is crafted from upcycled materials by a mix of established and burgeoning designers. So impressive are these carts that The Stop invited Designlines to judge them for design excellence, creativity and effective representation of The Stop’s mission.

Pumped

Lemon

Falco

HokPinata

Deconstruct

BikeSauce

Louisiana updates its cottage law

(from the organizer): …”adds a list of products that can be produced under the cottage food law including pies, breads, candies,syrups, etc. All regulation has been removed from the bill. A simple label affixed stating made in a home kitchen and income cap stays at $20,000.”
Updated law
Original post on the subject in 2013

Farmers Market Legal Toolkit Project

As a member of this team, I’m pleased to share the news of this project being funded:
The Vermont Law School’s Center for Agriculture and Food Systems received funding to develop a Farmers Market Legal Toolkit (FMLT) and educate market leaders on various legal topics that affect them. The project will be conducted in partnership with NOFA- VT, who will assist them in collecting data on area farmer’s markets. The legal toolkit will include resources in three major areas: governance structure of farmer’s markets, liabilities related to use of EBT/SNAP systems, and general risk management.

Research Awards to Support Rural Communities | National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.

(USDA Editor’s Note: The USDA press release mistakenly identified this project as the University of Vermont and the USDA research summary system mistakenly identified it as the University of Arizona, but it is in fact Vermont Law School.)