Recently, I read that the retailer Sunflower Farmers Markets is now growing produce for its stores on a 40-acre farm in the Longmont, Colo. area. According to The Denver Post story, the retailer-operated farm will supply about 5 percent of the produce needed to fill Sunflower's 27 stores. Not a lot, but Sunflower also plans to hold tours and workshops at the farm, using the retailer-farmer role to educate consumers on organic production and to bring them closer to their food.
What do you think of this concept? On one hand, it could build trust between consumers and retailers because retailers can share their intimate knowledge of where and how the fruits and vegetables were grown. On the other hand, grocers who operate farms could be perceived as pushing out small growers. And is the "retailer-farmer" role a realistic undertaking for any grocer other than a larger chain?
Let us know your thoughts.