Let’s be honest, sometimes it is difficult to find farmers and locally grown or raised farm-products. Morgan County Association for Food and Farms seeks to resolve that challenge with their new Morgan County Farm Directory. The Directory was developed to help institutional or whole-sale buyers, community members, and tourists find locally grown or raised products.
Step 1: Find the farmers.
Middlekauff started this process by reaching out to Morgan County’s Tax Assessor office. She met with the County’s Property Tax Assessor to explain who she was, why she needed the names of residents who had filed for farm tax exemptions, and what she planned to do with the information.
Step 2: Putting all of those farmers onto a sortable list.
One of Middlekauff’s partners, the WVU Extension Office generously entered all of those farmers onto a spreadsheet to make mailing easy-peasy. Then merged the list with a previous version of Morgan County’s Farm Directory.
Step 3: Contact farmers.
The county extension agent, Smalley, wrote and mailed a letter and survey to request information to all of the farmers.
Step 4: Collect and compile data.
38 farmers responded to Middlekauff’s request for information; of those, 29 indicated they wanted to be listed in the published directory.
Step 5: Contact farmers.
Middlekauff contacted farmers personally to collect and complete the directory.
Step 6: Design, edits, and approval.
Middlekauff designed the 4-page front and back colored directory using VistaPrint design software. The directory is meant to be easy to use and visually appealing. It lists farmers in alphabetical order on the inside. The back cover includes a produce calendar that fits Morgan County’s growing season. The Directory was edited and then approved for publishing by Morgan County Association for Food and Farms, Morgan County’s WVU Extension Office, and the Morgan County Economic Development Committee.
Step 7: Publish, and distribute.
Publishing was made possible by funds from the Morgan County Commission. Middlekauff distributed to all farms listed in the directory, a printed directory is available for pick up at the Morgan County WVYU Extension Office, and it is available as a PDF.
Throughout the process, Middlekauff used the community connections she has to make this process easier. She also manages the Berkeley Springs Farmers’ Market; through her work there, she knows a number of farmers in the County. Since this directory will be primarily used to help institutions purchase locally grown food, and assist tourists and others in finding locally grown food Middlekauff’s search was focused on farmers who grow fruits and vegetables, and or raise animals for meat.