Got questions? We’ve got a few answers. Read more about Backyard Bounty specifics in these Frequently Asked Questions. If you don’t find what you’re looking for below, feel free to e-mail us!
- What is the Backyard Bounty Co-op (BBC)?
- How did BBC sprout up?
- Where is BBC located? (See also At the Market)
- Who should join BBC?
- Why should I join BBC? What are the benefits of Membership?
- How do I join? What does BBC ask of its members?
- How does BBC work?
- What products can I sell through BBC?
- If I’m a BBC member can I still sell my products elsewhere?
- I’m not a farmer or gardener, but I’d like to help out. What can I do?
- Who should I contact if I want to get involved?
What is Backyard Bounty Co-op?
Backyard Bounty Co-op is primarily a collective marketing venture that allows small-scale urban growers to sell their produce, nursery stock, and other farm products at local farmers markets without the burden of staffing and organizing an individual booth. Many growers have an interest in market gardening but do not produce enough or have sufficient resources to sustain a booth of their own. For these growers, Backyard Bounty can be a stepping stone, providing administrative, logistical, and material support to bridge the gap between market aspirations and market opportunities.
Backyard Bounty also aims to provide a supplemental source of income, particularly during difficult economic times, and to provide community members with new opportunities to buy fresh, locally produced food.
How did Backyard Bounty Co-op sprout up?
Backyard Bounty is a project of Urban Abundance, a Vancouver-based non-profit funded through Slow Food Southwest Washington. Urban Abundance has a mission of connecting people to create a secure food future and a vision of an urban landscape filled with abundance. Their goal in launching Backyard Bounty Co-op was to support the growth of market gardening in Clark County by removing barriers and building capacity among small-scale urban farmers.
Urban Abundance would also like to see more undeveloped lands and green spaces in urban areas used to grow food. Backyard Bounty Co-op is one example of a model that can help Clark County achieve this goal.
Where is Backyard Bounty Co-op located?
Backyard Bounty does not have a permanent storefront or stand of its own, but we sell our goods through a variety of direct marketing channels (and we can’t wait to add more!). For our first season, we set up shop at a number of Farmers Markets and Festivals throughout Clark County. We are also looking at a couple direct-to-retail outlets for the Winter season, so stay tuned! See Backyard Bounty At the Market for the latest updates.
Who should join Backyard Bounty Co-op?
Anyone with a genuine interest in market gardening, a willingness to translate their interest into action, and a commitment to providing quality, earth-friendly produce or nursery stock should consider becoming a member. Whether someone has five acres or five square feet, we are eager for members who are passionate about growing good food and want to bring their sustainable, urban-raised bounty to market.
Why should I join Backyard Bounty Co-op? What are the benefits of membership?
As a Backyard Bounty member, the primary benefit is the ability to access direct marketing opportunities without navigating the administrative, logistical, and financial challenges of operating a market booth. Backyard Bounty as an entity will handle the organization, set-up, take-down, staffing, and advertising of vendor booths at a variety of venues.
Backyard Bounty provides accounting and marketing management for all products sold through the Co-op as well as general support for members’ farming enterprises. Members are able to increase their capacity through pooling resources, knowledge, information, and even purchasing power. They also benefit from a supportive community of like-minded farmers, plant-lovers, and entrepreneurs.
How do I join? What does Backyard Bounty Co-op ask of its members?
Backyard Bounty is intended to support each member’s efforts, but it is also intended as a collective endeavor (not simply a service) and a venue for bringing growers together. Our membership requirements are designed to help this endeavor succeed and to maximize the benefits for everyone. While we continue to revise and refine our membership requirements during this first year of operation, we currently ask that members:
• Be responsible for harvesting, washing, storing, packing, and transporting their produce according to the mutually agreed upon Backyard Bounty guidelines. We provide many packaging materials as well as resources for first-time marketers unsure how to prepare produce for a booth. Members also pool resources around transportation as necessary.
• Maintain certain standards regarding health, safety, and environmental stewardship in their market gardening operations.
• Agree to a site visit from a member of our team. This allows for an informal inspection (mostly to ensure there are no glaring safety hazards associated with your garden) and allows us to assure any curious customers that we are familiar with all our growers’ sites.
• Attend (as consistently as possible) membership gatherings during the market season and strategic planning meetings prior to the season. Gatherings during the season will initially be on a monthly basis then adjusted as seems appropriate. Member gatherings provide an opportunity for training, discussion, networking, and collective decision-making.
• Pay a one-time $25 membership fee and a 20% consignment fee to help cover costs of the Backyard Bounty booth, including market fees, market supplies, and packaging equipment. Members can also “pay” their consignment fee through a donation of time; part of the consignment fee for a given market day may be waived for any grower who volunteers to staff the booth. Growers facing financial challenges may be eligible for a consignment fee waiver.
• Naturally, complete a few forms…but mostly short and sweet ones and not too many, we promise!
How does Backyard Bounty Co-op work?
Backyard Bounty (at least initially) is using a model based on GrowMemphis, a project of the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center in Memphis, Tennessee.
Each market day, Backyard Bounty members will bring their produce to the market packaged and ready to sell (Backyard Bounty volunteer staff will do some sorting to ensure a quality product). As produce is received, the booth staff will record the weight, volume, or quantity (depending on how the product will be sold) as well as the source of the product. When growers bring the same item, such as bunches of kale, the weight/volume/quantity contributed by each grower is recorded and then the produce is combined and labeled at the booth as the same product (again, with appropriate discretion). Total revenue from sales of that product is then divided proportionally based on the weight/volume/quantity contributed by each grower.
Barring other requests, products will be priced by Backyard Bounty staff based on what the market will bear and what prices other vendors are charging for similar products. If growers contribute a unique item, the staff will ask the grower to help determine an appropriate price for their product.
At the end of the day, growers can pick up any unsold produce. Leftover produce will be donated and/or distributed among booth volunteers.
What products can I sell through Backyard Bounty Co-op?
Initially, Backyard Bounty is allowing produce, flowers, and nursery stock. However, we would love to expand to other products soon!
In the future, the answer will likely be “anything that you are licensed to sell.” Unless you are selling a very large volume, selling fresh veggies and fruit (excluding cherries) does not require special licensing. Selling nursery stock or cut flowers up to $100 also does not require a license. Other products, including eggs, dairy, and honey do have additional requirements. A good resource for understanding requirements associated with direct marketing of various farm products is the WSDA Small Farm and Direct Marketing Handbook which can be viewed or downloaded from the WSDA website.
If I’m a Backyard Bounty Co-op member, can I still sell my products elsewhere?
Absolutely! We encourage growers to sell their products through whatever channels are most appropriate for their operation. Ideally, the resources provided by Backyard Bounty will enable members to tap into market opportunities wherever they are available.
I’m not a farmer or gardener, but I’d like to help out. What can I do?
We’re so glad you asked…we love our volunteers! Our greatest need is for people to help set-up, staff, and take down booths on market days. Staffing a Farmers Market is lots of fun, especially if you enjoy good food, good music, and great people. There is also lots of behind-the-scenes outreach and development work (especially as we stretch our wings this first year) that can always use extra TLC.
Who should I contact if I want to get involved?
If you are interested in growing, volunteering, or otherwise getting involved with Backyard Bounty Co-op, we would love to have you!
Maika Horjus, Backyard Bounty Program Coordinator
Phone: (360) 909-9012