Report Synopsis

Farms Selling Direct to Consumer - Adding value - farm to consumer direct sales, short food chains

Ailbhe Gerrard

Key findings

  • ‘Farm to consumer’ examples exist in every country visited and every farm type
  • Disruptive, innovative and adapted technology now gives farmers opportunities to cooperate and organise, connect with customers and sell produce
  • Consumers are not only receptive to ‘farm to consumer’ but are also seeking closer relationships to farmers
  • Excellence of produce and service sells
  • Farm to consumer can be characterised into three models or sales channels:
    • Online and mail order
    • Diversification and value add on farm
    • Co-operative farm to consumer


The report is targeted at farmers interested in reaching consumers directly and gaining a share of the margin between farm gate and consumer. This research is important in the Irish context as farmers struggle to maintain income and profitability. The Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine (DAFM) has identified other weaknesses in Irish agriculture: farmers’ older age profile, income volatility due to commodities market, and environmental challenges.

This research aims to address these weaknesses in Irish agriculture by identifying alternative and more profitable farm income streams which provide farm-related employment opportunities for younger rural dwellers thus reducing the age profile and reduce farms’ environmentally damaging impacts.

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