Vegetable Box System: Direct Marketing with Community Links S24
Soil Association, Bristol, UK BS1 5BB
|The most important factors underlying the
success of any direct marketing system must be flexibility, an openness to change and a
sensitivity to the wishes of one's customers. Vegetable boxes are a simple marketing
concept where the customer is presented with a range of vegetables, usually weekly, at a
fixed price depending on what is in season and with the quantity, at least in part,
determined byharvest yield. Both the producer and the consumer of organic food benefitfrom
this arrangement - the producer from the increased security of apredictable income and
increased job satisfaction and the consumer fromconsumption of a wide range of fresh,
organic foods of high quality. This food distribution system also presents the opportunity
to expandconsumer awareness of the benefits of organic farming through
writtencommunication and access to the farm.
As this system of marketing continues to develop in Britain several clear models are emerging with a resulting influence not only on health and the environment but also as an instrument of social change. The relationship which may develop can be both satisfying and supportiveto the food producer and the food consumer. By bypassing the usual food marketing systems with their constraints offluctuating demand and price which often work against the primary producer,this marketing approach gives the organic food producer an unparalleledfreedom to grow a wide variety of crops secure in the knowledge that hislabour is justly valued, his sustainability safeguarded and hissatisfaction ensured.
Over 30% of United Kingdom horticultural producers utilise a vegetableproduction box system as either a whole or part of their marketingstrategy.