Local appetite for satisfying content!

What exactly is Central Rivers Farmshed? When I first stumbled upon the group, this question plagued me for months before I finally understood its purpose.  Through discussions with family and friends, we’ve come to realize that this confusion is felt elsewhere as well.

As of now, the website (farmshed.org) states, “Central Rivers Farmshed is a 501c3 nonprofit organization representing all aspects of the food system whose members are committed to making Central Wisconsin a renowned, local food community.”

But, how does a group represent all aspects of the food system? What does Farmshed actually do?


 Simply put, Farmshed is a connecting force. Farmshed serves the needs of local farmers and community members (and the various groups and institutions they belong to) by facilitating programs, workshops, fairs, publications, and meetings. Through these activities, Farmshed strengthens the local food economy, builds an understanding of the benefits of local food, and promotes community sustainability and resilience.

 Please visit our website or stop by The Greenhouse Project in downtown Stevens Point to learn about how you can get involved, or just to chat. Building a vibrant, local food community doesn’t have to be difficult, nor is it an alienating concept… we just need to get together, have fun, and eat good food!

Stating Farmshed’s role in this blatant way will build understanding and trust with the brand. Trust will make community members feel more secure in donating, becoming a member, or even attending an event – ultimately, boosting soft and hard ROI.

Making sure Farmshed always includes this statement in content will provide consistency and ensure that the purpose of the brand is never overlooked.  New audiences will be made aware from the onset of what it is Farmshed does and how they can be involved.

Sharing a relaxed statement about how to get involved will make the brand seem more approachable.  In the end, Farmshed is all about building community, but let’s not make that task seem intimidating, daunting or invasive.

We are generating a content campaign to raise awareness about what and who Farmshed really is…

Content marketing strategy:

Due to limited staffing, board member involvement, participation from volunteers, and graphic design/social media/PR/marketing interns are needed for this strategy to succeed.

 Existing content and channels (keep, but with tweaks):

1)   Quarterly E-newsletter: seek new list-serves for upcoming summer newsletter, always explain what Farmshed is and does.

2)   Facebook- daily post – PDFs, images, text

  1. Member testimonials
  2. Upcoming events
  3. Reminders
  4. Related news stories
  5. Featured farmers/businesses
  6. Gardening tips
  7. Photos of what’s happening around The Greenhouse Project

3)   Bi-weekly staff emails, from Executive Director, Program Coordinator, or intern

  1. Updates about how things are going
  2. Sharing ways to involve new people (friends, family, co-workers)
  3. Keep it interactive – promote feedback and idea sharing

4)   Continue to keep new website updated, linked to Facebook page

Additional content avenues:

1)   ASAP: YouTube account: 2-4 minute videos – stories and interviews

  1. Talk with farmers, new members, volunteers, etc. about how Farmshed has impacted them
  2. Create and then revisit a video featuring a board member that explains what Farmshed is and examples of activities

2)   ASAP: Contact Portage County Gazette, Stevens Point Journal, and The Pointer and establish periodic online news stories

3)   By June 2014: Create a referral program: referring a friend, who then becomes a member, gets you perks (free workshop, demos, etc)

4)   By May 2014: graphic designer volunteer creates simple, basic posters and brochures (print) about Farmshed for dissemination throughout Central Wisconsin

5)   July 2014: Set up a weekly show with 90FM in Stevens Point (for example, Friday mornings at 10). Bring in activists, local food people, farmers, business owners, restaurants, board members, etc, to interview and discuss Farmshed, events, news/current events. Inform members through email.

 Mini style guide and editing guidelines: 


Due to the limited number of staff, all content must first go through the executive director, who gives final approval.  Please consult the graphics repository for colors, images, and fonts to keep content consistent with existing face of the Farmshed brand.  In addition, generate content with the following editorial guidelines in mind:


– get sustainable farming lingo correct

– be culturally sensitive

– check links

– use enthusiastic, informal tone

– cite images and facts

– always encourage people to learn more (refer to website/Facebook if helpful)

– use Farmshed’s logo when appropriate

– keep Farmshed’s mission in mind, always

– make sure event promotion always includes basic information about what Farmshed is – much of this information reaches new audiences who are unaware of basic mission

– remember, Farmshed is not a subculture- it needs to be everyone’s culture! Inclusivity is the name of the game…


– use inappropriate/vulgar language

– handle personal matters on organizational accounts- represent Farmshed, not your personal life

– offer or engage with political opinions, just use facts…

– get off topic. Remember, the goal is to educate people about what Farmshed is

– assume people know.. We’re trying to reach new members who might not know what Farmshed is.

Bottom line:

Farmshed’s content needs to be more than visually appealing- it needs to explain, in the simplest terms possible, what Farmshed is and why the organization is needed. Doing so, recurrently as the organization grows and develops, will ensure that new audiences, along with those already involved, are constantly reminded of the purpose and necessary existence of this nonprofit.


(Note: The author is in no way affiliated with Central Rivers Farmshed at this time. The organization was used as an example.)



  1. I really enjoyed your post! Your content strategy is laid out really nice and was really easy to understand. I like how you gave a lot of detail when explaining the existing and additional content. There is a lot of information that Farmshed provides to the community and your strategy lays it out perfectly! I also thought it was cool that you are setting up a radio show for Farmshed. This allows people to be informed by ear rather than surfing the Web. I loved reading your post! Well done!


  2. This was a great post to read! I am not familiar with Farmshed, but this helped me to understand its purpose. The content you want to add clarifies what Farmshed is trying to do as they grow. I like how you said “In the end, Farmshed is all about building community, but let’s not make that task seem intimidating, daunting or invasive”. For those who haven’t worked with engaging a community before, this task can seem overwhelming, but your plan of action lays out a detailed plan of how to accomplish this goal!


  3. HI
    This is a very nice post. And I like how you introduced the content items that need “tweaking.”

    These are a few suggestions I have for you when it comes to content marketing on a few items listed, especially they will give you greater visibility (Soft ROI) with a low budget and will stretch your existing marketing dollars.

    1. Set up your own Blog Talk Radio station. Why? You will have more control over air times and dates ( you won’t have to see if a slot is open at the local station). This is also a good idea if you are having any special promotions. You can run your air time with your own promotions. Second, You have more flexibility when inviting very visible guest with busy schedules. Third, Shareable LINKS. This is about going viral as much as possible. Getting your content/message hear. Blog talk will auto stream and you will retain the show on your Blog Talk page for as long as you want. This is great if you are asking for donations or funds you can point someone to a particular show to listen about a certain topic. ( I would arrange the show content according to topic). Also, you can take the link and post it to Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, mass Text messages, add to your existing blog site (create a blog page for the Blog Talk radio with the shows listed by topic) and last, send/share the link via email and electronic newsletter.

    Referral Program – incorporate Foursquare. When people have so many check-in’s per month give them a small reward. If they have several people checking in at one time (group) give group check-in’s. But you want to use Foursquare because your check-in’s are sharing this information with their followers.

    I would be leary of buying list. I tried this several times when I had my business and wasted more than 6,000.00 ( more than one list) and the information really didn’t work for me. Actually, social media, a well crafted social media strategy worked successfully and generated the visibility and revenue needed for a successful business.

    Your above content strategy is awesome! You did an excellent post. I just thought I would share a few suggestions that you can add to your tweaks.


  4. Great post. I love the amount of content that Farmshed already uses and the things you would like to add to the list. All of this content will be great for spreading more awareness about Farmshed. Personally, I know little about Farmshed, but I was at a meeting recently with one of the executives, and she shared the Atlas pictured in your style guide above. This is a fantastic tool, and it can literally be used anywhere to raise awareness and answer a bunch of questions around sustainability, CSAs, and buying local. Also, your style guide sounds nice. You hit all the main points without sounding like you were bossing employees around.

    “Remember, Farmshed is not a subculture- it needs to be everyone’s culture! Inclusivity is the name of the game…” I really liked this quote in the style guide because it basically says that Farmshed cares more about the population than its self.


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