Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The New Business of Agribusiness, Part I: Skylight Farm on Connecting Crops with Culture


[Photo Credit - Justen Clay Photography]
With a background partly rooted in agribusiness and horticulture, the Eberly & Collard Public Relations team has a unique passion for these industries, in addition to others in which we specialize. Today, we believe that many consumers have become increasingly disconnected from the growth and production of their food sources. One of our missions in working with agribusiness companies and horticultural businesses is to utilize cutting-edge marketing and branding methods to connect consumers with the important backstories surrounding what they are consuming. The Eberly & Collard team gets particularly excited when our work creates an innovative connection in the agricultural industry.

Brittany Price, one of our newest team members, has worked extensively with Atlanta-area biodiverse vegetable farm, Skylight Farm, offering communications, marketing and business development support. This young, up-and-coming local business is owned and operated by 27-year-old Justin Aiello of Douglasville, Ga. Skylight Farm is the result of Aiello’s landscaping background paired with his desire to care for the environment; it may also have something to do with the fact that Aiello just loves good food.

Through a farm apprenticeship, the young farmer learned the ins-and-outs of organic production. When Aiello was provided land on which to start his own farm, he knew the biodiverse and organic model was the path he would take, as he explains, “Stewarding the land organically allows me to give back just as much as I take, maintain healthy, nutrient rich soil and have a farm that will be sustainable for many years to come.” Aiello is one of a growing number of Georgia farmers who are revolutionizing the face of organic farming in two key ways: with a fresh perspective in agribusiness marketing and with innovative and specialized growing methods.

[Photo Credit - Justen Clay Photography]
While Skylight Farm’s growing methods are inspiring for those in the agricultural world, there is often a disconnect between the world of farmers and the world of consumers. As Aiello and the ECPR team knows, community-based, integrative marketing is essential for the agricultural and horticultural industries.

Often, representatives from organic farms will simply show up for a farmers market, hoping their goods will speak for themselves. However, Aiello believes the highest level of marketing is necessary for a farm’s success. This means that everything is executed with the consumer in mind, including the basic layout of his booth at the market, the farm’s customer outreach, and especially its branding. From the farm’s extensive utilization of social media marketing to the award-winning design created for Skylight Farm by Atlanta-based designer, Russell Shaw (to view Skylight Farm’s branding, click here), a great deal of the young farm’s success is due to a comprehensive approach to marketing. Aiello has also built relationships in the food service industry creating a partnership with BoccaLupo, an Atlanta-based modern, Italian restaurant that was recently featured on the cover of Atlanta Magazine as one of the city’s best new restaurants.

[Photo Credit - Justen Clay Photography]
Aiello emphasizes the importance of relationship-building in his business model, as he believes that a farm will never be truly successful without garnering the support of its local community. He explains, “I think one of the most beautiful things about food is that it bridges all gaps; we all eat and there is something especially wonderful about sharing food with people.” For Skylight Farm, this looks like an innovating and comprehensive approach to the business of organic farming.

From its novel, natural growing methods, to Aiello’s exceptional marketing and branding standards, Skylight Farm creates a new norm for the agricultural industry. No matter the size of a farm, the Eberly & Collard team believes that Justin Aiello of Skylight Farm, along with a growing community of like-minded businesses, will have a profound effect on the way growers and producers connect with consumers. Our team is excited to be a part of building these connections.

Stay tuned for Part II of our Agribusiness Series featuring Skylight Farm, in which we’ll share more about what it takes to operate an organic farm: the farm’s growing practices and as Aiello emphasizes, “all the good old-fashioned hard work,” that goes into making Skylight Farm a success.

For more information on Skylight Farm, click the link to visit their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/skylightfarmGA

You can also visit with Justin and the rest of the Skylight Farm team or pick up some veggies at the Piedmont Park Green Market every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Click the link for more information: http://ow.ly/oHSDM

[Photo Credit - ECPR]

2 comments:

  1. I think this is good to see food production at the local level and the connected food chain up the cycle to restaurants, and hope to see more chain retail buy from local operations.

    Shane M.
    Washington

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  2. Great to see this type of article bringing more awareness of a local entenpenuer's efforts to bring quality natural foods to the public while protecting the land it comes from. Well written piece on a great subject. Big food companies still have not figured out what this small business has. Great branding

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