Social media lessons for farmers
Two marketing gurus from Hawaii are on P.E.I. this week to teach farmers how to use social media to market their businesses.
Barb Jewell sells vegetables and flowers from Island Meadow Farms. Like most P.E.I. farmers she and her husband have a computer, and even a web site, but they want to expand how they use the internet to sell their products.
"We thought we were really getting left behind because everybody's tweeting," Jewell told CBC News Monday.
"I just thought that if we're going to be going to the farmers markets and dealing with florists, that the social networking would really help."
Jewell is one of 45 farmers at a seminar, run by Pomai Weigert and her mother Lani, aimed at helping farmers learn how to market themselves. The two own a small lavender business in Hawaii.
Pomai Weigert said many P.E.I. farmers are scared to throw away their old marketing techniques and join the digital age, but it's a necessity.
"If we don't do that then we can't bring them into the next era, and we need their skills to keep these farms going," she said.
The Weigerts also stress branching out into value added products, more expensive products like jams and honey.
Stephen Cousins has done that, offering country dining and running cooking classes at his organic farm, but the problem is no one knows about it. He believes learning how to network on the internet will be vital to his success.
"Our profit margin is small, so we can't afford to be paying a middle man," said Cousins.
"We need to do it ourselves."
Jewell is looking forward to trying out Twitter this spring, with information on her new floral arrangements.