Future Farmers — part 1

Innovative farmers are, as we see it, those who plan, build and operate their farms and production for the future. This entails the way they manage their soils, their crop rotation, their animal husbandry and their overall operations. It also entails how they make use of new technological solutions to reach new markets, optimize sales operations and handle customer communication.

The producers that are part of the digital marketplace Dagens — and the network of restaurants, canteens and shops that are customers on the other side — are as diverse as the produce on the marketplace. Dagens works with pioneers within small scale, organic and biodynamic food production in Norway, and those who are just starting out on their farming journey.

Marthe caring for the young plants in her polytunnel

One of these new producers, who we like to call future farmers, is Marthe Norderhaug who established her market garden «Husmannshagan» in 2019. For her second season of production and sales she wanted to try out a way of reaching business consumers, after some hard-earned experiences from last year when her sole customers were private consumers. This customer segment prefers buying a bit of this and a bit of that — but not too much of anything, meaning the need for many customers and time consuming individual packaging, to be able to sell the whole production.
Marthe saw that she wanted to do things differently this season and contacted Dagens to be part of the digital platform aiming mostly at business consumers like restaurants, canteens and specialty shops. One of her main arguments is that she can pack the orders in bulk straight into recyclable crates and thus spend much less time packing and delivering.

“As a food producer there is always too much to do and too many things to follow up on that steals away time from the actual production. Dagens simplifies everything for me. I can deliver everything in one big batch to the hub in Oslo. With automatic invoicing everything I have to do is check that the order lines are correct after delivery and send them away. It’s very comfortable that my products are all out there on the platform and that I don’t have to send mails and do calls to tell customers what is available from week to week — they can see the availability on the platform and through the season calendar.
In short; Order editing and invoicing is very simple, delivery and distribution has a good solution, the platform provides easy and time efficient marketing of products, and the Dagens team assist in matching with the right customers. Truly worth the 15% transaction cost.” — Marthe

After few weeks on the Dagens platform, Marthe had already formed good relations with several especially interested customers who she talks to several times a week about updates on the harvest and crop diversity, and to set up orders. Marthe says that the experience of delivering to restaurants is very positive, because they give frequent feedback, are dynamic sparring partners, and value high quality and specialty crops in completely different ways than private consumers.

“Business consumers and chefs appreciate my produce in very different ways than I’ve experienced with private consumers. They are also willing to pay for the quality and varieties that they want and won’t necessarily choose the cheapest option. I am very passionate about heirloom varieties that are not patented and that are not produced or sold in a big scale, and thus on the road to extinction. Heirloom varieties have very different qualities than the standards varieties you find at every supermarket, and I feel that the restaurants really see these qualities and wants to buy them. This again means that I get the opportunity and possibility to grow them, because I have a market for selling them.” — Marthe

Marthe preparing her market garden beds with a lightweight CBS mini “tractor”

Dagens aims to create a strong and ever-growing community of people that want to co-create the holistically sustainable food system we know we need, and who are more than ready to take on the challenges of disrupting the industrial and monopolized food system of our global world. Dagens wants to blur the lines between producers and consumers, and to provide a system and framework for transparent communication and trade. One way we are doing just that is by bringing together our producer partners and our skilled customers for co-planning events during the winter, to prepare for the next season.

“I am part of Dagens also because I want to be part of a network and a community. It’s very exciting to cooperate with others who are very passionate about food on the other end of the value chain. It’s amazing to follow the products I’ve put a lot of effort and love into. Another advantage with Dagens is that you can build relations to other producers you might not know from before. I am very keen on being part of network meetings and planning events with both producers and customers. We are so much stronger when we unite. What could be a synergy of Dagens is that we as small-scale producers can come together and buy, produce and sell in cooperation, which gives a much higher stability and cost efficiency for everyone.” — Marthe

Two of the chefs who are part of building a better food system visiting the organic pork producer Heinrich Jung

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Dagens

Dagens

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Digital platform taking direct food trade between food producers and chefs mainstream — on nature’s premises. www.dagens.farm