Sunday, April 1, 2012

Three "Honour System" Farm Stands


source: http://permies.com

The first honor system farm stand is at Inspiration Farm in Bellingham, Washington. Brian Kerkvliet gives us the tour. He's selling plant starts in the spring and the full array of produce as everything comes on. He says that the stand next to the road is, at the very least, generating curiosity. People are stopping just to check it out. He talks about the idea of potting up plants that he finds on his property that he doesn't want like stinging nettles or black locust trees.

Brian says that he hasn't had any problems with vandalism or theft.

Next I visit with Karen Biondo of la Biondo Farm and Kitchen on Vashon Island, Washington. She says that she used to keep all the money stuff in an open tackle box so people could make change. Twice in one year the money was stolen, but that still works out to be not a big deal. A neighbor made her an industrial strength cash box which has eliminated the theft problem.

She has something called "pay it forward farm bucks" as an alternative to making change.

She has garbage cans for keeping potatoes.

I like the free basket. I think it would be neat to have a free shed where people can drop off free stuff and pick up free stuff. Maybe ask folks to put a buck in to haul off old free stuff.

The final stop is at Langley Fine Gardens. Little Jamie has been peristant throughout the day about feeding tennis balls to the chicken. Jamie's mom, Anna Olive has been awesome at taking me around vashon island to see lots of cool things. The bottom line is that the tennis balls with the chicken is a brilliant way to build business - especially with any family with little kids that have seen the tennis ball chicken.

Jamie puts the tennis ball in and we follow where it goes.

Langley has lots of plants starts available when we stop by. Leda Menser-Langley tells me about how they used to have a money box, but had some tiny theft. And then came up with the chicken thing due to concerns about possible future theft. So customers put the money in the tennis ball and then send it down the tube. Leda explains that she feels discomfort at farm stands with messages like "please don't steal from us" - as if they are accusing her of being the thief.

Relevant threads at permies:
http://www.permies.com/t/2925/farm-income/farm-store-honor-system
http://www.permies.com/forums/f-41/farm-income
http://www.permies.com/t/9535/farm-income/market-stand-value-added-product
http://www.permies.com/t/8017/farm-income/do-you-market-stinging-nettle
http://www.permies.com/t/10878/farm-income/Four-season-marketing-local-tourism

music by Jimmy Pardo
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