The Weblog

We send out cool articles and farmer highlights using a different email program. You can see the archives of those emails here and through our facebook page! We use this “weblog” every Friday evening to let you know the market page is accepting orders (look for the little add to cart buttons next to products). Northeast Georgia Locally Grown was officially OPENED on Monday, April 26th, 2010 and we are so thankful that you are helping support fresh local foods each week.

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Locally Grown - Availability for February 6th, 2013

Hey Local Food Lovers,

I thought I’d pick right back up where I left off last week with giving a little history about the Locally Grown market and how things work. This week I want to go into a little more detail on the financial side.

Even though Locally Grown is managed as a non-profit project of the Soque River Watershed Association (with Chuck and Amy Mashburn managing the Tiger pick-up and Justin Ellis managing the Clarkesville pickup) each time you use the website, your orders are placed directly with the farms whose products you select. What that means is that Locally Grown does not purchase food and then sell it to you. Each customer is making a series of individual purchases directly from farms, then on Wednesdays those farms leave their products for you at the designated pick up. Even though you may never see each other, they know your names from week to week as they see them on an order form and on the labels.

Because Locally Grown does shuttle food between Tiger and Clarkesville, man the market from about 2:30 until 6:30 (or 7pm in the summer), print out all the paperwork, take deposits to the bank, and a handful of other weekly administrative tasks we do collect a small percentage of each sale made. Currently that amount is 12% of sales. There is a 3% of all sales fee paid to use the Locally Grown software designed by Eric Wagoner who started the Athens Locally Grown. The remaining 9% is split between the Clarkesville and the Tiger pickup locations. So if you buy a $4.00 bag of kale the farmer will receive $3.52. We’ll collect .48 cents of which .12 cents goes for the software licensing fee and the remaining .36 cents is split between Clarkesville and Tiger after expenses.

In 2013 Locally Grown sold $37,250 worth of products, and collected $3,352 from our 9%. We had $1,930 in expenses that included things like business cards, coolers, banners, shuttle costs ($20 per trip), small volunteer stipend, bank fees, bounced checks (we always have a few of these from customers that don’t come back), and a few miscellaneous expenses like non-delivered food, etc. That left $1,422 net which was split between Clarkesville and Tiger markets making it $711 each. We spend on average at least 5 hours a week on Locally Grown activities (4 hours at market and at least another hour doing other things). That’s 260 hours in a year minimum which breaks down to about $2.73 an hour. That’s just counting Chuck and I’s time, and doesn’t include Amy, Ching-Yu, all the time that Teri Parker and Jean Holmes donates, and most recently the farmers that have been helping out.

But what about the membership fees? Good question. This year we collected $1,590 in annual membership fees compared to $1,050 in fees from last year and $1,170 the year before. So far we have been pooling all of this money in a reserve fund with the expectation that we may need to purchase a refrigerated truck, or hire someone to help with deliveries if we ever expand the market. $3,810 (give or take) is a decent start as we start to look at possible expansion plans this year and hopefully might be used to match a grant or other funding source.

All of these funds are managed in an account under the Soque River Watershed Association name (that’s why we have you write SRWA on your checks) so no taxes are due, though farmers do have to pay taxes on their income from the market individually. We may be required in the near future to submit tax forms to growers with records of their annual sales but haven’t started that yet.

As you can see, its run kind of like a very small business partnership between Chuck and I, though one that is more fun than profit driven. I’ll say this in case you are worried. I think that Chuck and I, and I think I can safely speak for Amy, Teri, Jean, Ching-Yu and many other volunteers find Locally Grown to be one of the brightest spots in our week, but more importantly in our community. Let’s face it , if it weren’t for this humble market I wouldn’t know most of the growers that I know, and I certainly wouldn’t be eating fresh local greens in the winter, with fresh local bread, fresh eggs, and all the other items I now can enjoy every single week of the year.

It’s also quite exhilarating to be able to tell people that in less than three years we’ve sold over $100,000 worth of food. That’s significant.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot. Before I wrap things up, if you haven’t yet picked up a copy of Friday’s Northeast Georgian you should because Ronnie Mathis of Mountain Earth Farms is on the cover in color with his greens above the fold! The story is about the brand new FARM 2 SCHOOL program that Habersham County is launching this year and it’s pretty exciting. If you want to know more about it I’m gonna make you visit our FACEBOOK page to read the story (we’re trying to boost our LIKES) click here

There’s a PDF of the whole article there. Or better yet go buy a paper. Support Local NEWS, but only after you support LOCAL FOOD!


Justin in Habersham
Chuck in Rabun