Resources help farmers sell directly to shoppers

More than 5,000 Bavarian farmers belong to the direct marketing association.

Kate Huffman, left, Henry County, and Dave Bishop, Logan County, check out the white asparagus and other vegetables available at Bauermarket Dasing, a Bavarian rest area focused on direct marketing of local farm products. (Photo by Kay Shipman)

By Kay Shipman

Support systems help Illinois farmers market their products directly to consumers. However, direct marketing support for Bavarian farmers offers a different take and some ideas for their Illinois counterparts.

Raghela Scavuzzo, Illinois Farm Bureau local foods program manager, gained an overview of Germany’s direct marketing program, especially how it works in Bavaria. Operated by a state agricultural commodity organization, the Bayerischer BauernVerband offers “everything to do with direct marketing,” Scavuzzo said.

More than 5,000 Bavarian farmers belong to the direct marketing association. Those farmers have on-farm shops, online markets, vending machines and booths at farmers’ markets. Scavuzzo explained association farmer members have access to all applicable government laws, rules and any updates.

Membership also helps Bavarian farmers overcome “a huge barrier” of quick access to branded packaging and marketing materials, Scavuzzo said. Through the association, farmers may order everything from bags, boxes and packages to all types of advertising materials, such as chalkboards and stickers.

Even the order forms are a bonus. “You can order, but you can also think of your options and needs when you order,” she added. “The brand is recognizable to consumers and great for start-ups.”

Illinois farmers receive marketing support from IFB, the Illinois Specialty Growers Association, MarketMaker, Illinois Farmers Market Association and Illinois Farmer Veterans Alliance. Illinois farmers also use marketing campaigns, such as Buy Fresh Buy Local, Homegrown by Heroes and Illinois Where Fresh Is. 

Anyone interested in direct farm marketing will be able to learn and share ideas this fall when the National Direct Agricultural Marketing Summit comes to Illinois. 

“It’s really about collaboration, sharing resources and making everybody’s resources stronger,” Scavuzzo said. “Although we’re not at the same level as Bavaria, direct marketing is successful when farmers use it and consumers are aware of it.”

For details of Bavarian’s program, visit

National Direct Ag Marketing Summit coming to Illinois

The National Direct Agriculture Marketing Summit offers farmers a chance to network and learn new strategies  Oct. 7-9 in Rosemont.

Summit hosts include Illinois Farm Bureau, USDA Agricultural Marketing Service, Farm Credit, MarketMaker and the Global Food Agricultural Network, University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, Iowa State University Agricultural Marketing Resource Center and Farmers Market Coalition.

The summit will focus on direct to consumer markets, local food systems and value-added technical assistance. Presenters and participants will include farmers, academics, entrepreneurs, service providers, investors, business operators, students, consultants, and state and federal agency employees.

The summit will be held in Rosemont’s Donald E. Stephens Convention Center. For details or to register,