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Thursday, September 29, 2011

NASA's Cross Promotion with Agritourism

Corn maze with Hubble Telescope
theme at Liberty Ridge Farm,
Schaghticoke, NY
Cross Promotion is an effective marketing tool and is actually quite common and useful in the produce business. You've seen it and probably not even thought about it. Buy Brand X cereal and get a coupon to buy Brand Y bananas, or "Don't forget to grab some Brand A dressing to go with this Brand B salad mix!" 

I hadn't thought about it in terms of the cross promotion technique as I was focusing on finding a niche and positioning when I wrote my American Vegetable Grower Marketing Matters column last fall. That story about a south Jersey corn maze operator working with the Philadelphia sports teams is a great example of agritourism cross promotion. Here's an interesting piece from the upstate NY Extension Vegetable program about NASA teaming up with agritourism operators across the country to celebrate (and educate about) space exploration. 

Effective cross promotion? I'd say so, for NASA and the farms involved!
Rick VanVranken
Liberty Ridge Farm Embarks on Space Farm 7 Mission
Laura McDermott, CCE Capital District Vegetable & Small Fruit Program
    Liberty Ridge Farm is a popular agritourism farm in the Capital District. It is located 30 minutes north of Albany and features a 12 acre corn maze along with many farm grown products. This year, they were chosen as the northeast representative to pair with NASA in a special outreach titled Space Farm 7. This program will honor the U.S. space program as well as expose visitors to NASA space exploration and educate children across the US. The celebration is very timely as this year NASA celebrates the 50th anniversary of the first American in space, the 30th anniversary of the first Space Shuttle mission and the 20th anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope’s deployment in space.
    NASA has ten regional research centers located in the US, each of which has a different responsibility. Liberty Ridge Farms is paired with Goddard Space Flight Center in MD to coordinate their leg of the program, featuring the Hubble Space Telescope in the corn maze. Games and activities will reinforce the educational missions of the space program so maze-goers can learn and have fun at the same time. Other activities proposed for the farm include traveling space displays, NASA sponsored activities, an astronaut visit, and a contest where the winner can win an opportunity to dine with an astronaut along with a trip to the Kennedy Space Center.
    "We are honored to be chosen to be part of this program," said Cynthia Gifford, owner of Liberty Ridge Farm. "Not only do we get to collaborate with other farm operators across the nation in a unified effort to entertain and educate families, we are also going to be part of history in paying tribute to NASA." Liberty Ridge Farm made a request for an Astronaut to visit the farm during the first weekend in October, coinciding with their ‘All About Scouts’ Weekend.
    Other participating farms include are in Fredericksburg, VI; Rock, GA; Gretna, NE; Brookshire, TX; Lehi, UT and Lathrop, CA. All are associated with The MAiZE Inc, the world’s largest maze design company.