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Case Study: Good Small Farms

Good Small Farms launched its box scheme using Ooooby in 2022. Rosie Aitken explains more about their experience so far. 

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Tell us about Good Small Farms

Good Small Farms is a small, mixed, regenerative farm near Stroud, Gloucestershire. As well as a 12 acre market garden, other projects include agroforestry, livestock and a tree nursery.

Good Small Farms launched its veg bag scheme in 2022, delivering its own produce to 20 regular customers throughout the growing season. We are aiming to increase the number of weekly customer numbers to 50 in 2023 and 100 in 2024.

How big is your team?

Our veg bag team consists of one full-time team member and two part-time team members, the equivalent of eight days of staff time per week.

How do you operate your box scheme?

In the first year we used The Long Table, a local food charity, as a collection point and delivered to a small number of households within a mile radius of the farm.

We tried to be as accommodating to customers as we could. For example, we allowed their customers to request exclusions and replacements. This experience has led us to change our approach in the second year, in order to streamline our operations. For example, we will no longer be allowing exclusions and replacements and are opening up a second collection point, at the farm itself, instead of delivering to households. 

We pick on a Thursday morning and pack the veg bags on the Friday morning before delivery. Each person packs a different item. This process could do with some fine tuning this year!

What about your product range?

In the first year we only sold what we produced ourselves. Although this was limited to vegetables we are looking into how we can also sell a limited amount of our own meat. 

We will continue to concentrate on selling the food that we produce but are also connecting with a limited number of local producers who can add value to our current offer. This may include mushrooms and coffee.

DSCF4049-1What have been the biggest challenges of starting a box scheme?

The main challenge has been holding onto customers. When you only have a small number of customers they’re all precious. We also struggled with trying to please everyone in terms of the veg bag contents. We found it difficult to be organised and efficient with planning the veg bag contents each week and packing the bags. I think this will improve in our second year.

What have been the biggest benefits of starting a box scheme?

The huge amount of positive feedback from customers makes it all a lot easier. We get immense satisfaction knowing that we’re providing our customers with tasty nutritious food.

What useful tips do you have for people starting a box scheme?

Go and learn from other people. There’s no right way to run a box scheme but other farmers will have lots of tips. They’ll also tell you what mistakes they’ve made so you can learn from them.

If you have a pick-up point in someone else’s business make sure you have a few contacts you can reach out to if something goes wrong. This will give you peace of mind.

How has it helped you to be using the Ooooby system?

Ooooby helped to make our box scheme far more professional and accessible to customers. It took time to set up but saves us so much time now. I can't imagine running a box scheme without it. The team has been so supportive. They tailor their advice to our operation and always make sure we're aware of any changes to the platform. Knowing we can call or message someone if we need help gives us so much peace of mind.

What would you have done differently if you could start your box scheme again?

I would have set up a pick-up point on our farm. In the chaos of our first year setting up our business this would’ve made our lives a lot easier.

Do you use other organisations for support?

We use the Soil Association, Better Food Traders and B Corps for support and advice. The UK Market Gardeners Facebook page is an incredible resource for information on all things growing and lots of tips on how to run a box scheme.

What marketing have you done so far? Have you found anything particularly effective?

We have marketed our veg bags through social media, our website, with posters and flyers. Posting on local community Facebook groups has helped us get quite a few customers. Word of mouth is definitely the best method of marketing. 

Anything else you want to add?

We’re very lucky to be based in Stroud where there’s a very engaged community. Other local businesses have been very supportive and helped spread the word about what we’re doing.


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