OFTP - A Day in the Life
Direct Marketing - May 13, 2019
9 - 9:45: Full group discussion - Brainstorming Market Channels (CSA, Farmers' Markets, etc)
9:45 - 9:50: Workbook: Market Channel Selection
9:50 - 10:15: Back of the Envelope Business Plan
10:30 - Noon: Hands-on Farm Activities (30 minutes then rotate)
1 - 1:30: Farmstand setup Demonstration
1:30 - 2: CSA setup Demonstration
2 - 2:45: Farmwalk
3 - 3:15 Announcements (vote on farms to visit for TC trip)
3:15 - 3:45: Make an Elevator Pitch
3:45 - 4:45: Guest Speaker Colleen Matts discussing Farm to Institution and Farm to School sales
4:45 - 5pm Daily Class Evaluations
Assignment: Write a CSA newsletter, online form or other marketing material
Video Lectures: Watch 2 video lectures, one about CSA and another about Farmers' Markets
Readings: Continue reading The Lean Farm by Ben Hartman
Field & Classroom Activities
Often, we split the OFTP group into 3 groups of 5 or 6 for hands-on activities, so each participant gets an opportunity to try out a new tool or skill. Some hands-on activities or farm demonstrations work well as a full group.
Although most class days are spent at the MSU Student Organic Farm, expect field trips to Detroit, Ann Arbor, Lansing, Grand Rapids and Southwest Michigan where we visit four farms in each region. We also spend a weekend in Traverse City to visit many farms there. OFTP participants often list these field trips as a highlight of the program, giving them insight into 20 different ways to approach infrastructure, growing methods and other farm techniques.
Lectures by the OFTP instructor are available online to save class time for hands-on activities, farm walks, group discussions and guest speakers.
Group discussions, vision sharing presentations and Farm Business Plan Presentations allow the cohort to learn from each other. We also split into small groups to brainstorm ideas for a participant's farm, for hands-on activities, etc. The OFTP workbook allows a space to think through your farm plan and class topics.
Seeing the progress of crops on our 7 acres of outdoor production and in the 9 hoophouses can lead to lots of discussions. Here, Denae is discussing covering the rollup sides, vents and doors of our cucumber hoophouse with Proteknet to keep out pests and grow a seedless cucumber variety that doesn't need pollination.
We are lucky to have over a dozen guest speakers, including