Farm Fresh Food Boxes

Relationships in Value Chain Partnerships


  • Lauren Greco University of Vermont
  • Jane Kolodinsky University of Vermont
  • Marilyn Sitaker The Evergreen State College
  • Lisa Chase University of Vermont Extension
  • David Conner University of Vermont
  • Hans Estrin University of Vermont Extension
  • Diane Smith Washington State University Skagit County Extension
  • Julia Van Soelen Kim University of California, Cooperative Extension Marin County



Direct to Consumer, Alternative Food Systems, Farming, Food Retail, Values-Based Food Chains, Food Access, Relationships


The Farm Fresh Food Box (F3B) project is a mar­ket innovation that aims to capitalize on successful characteristics of direct-to-consumer (DTC), values-based supply chains (VBSCs), and tradi­tional supply chains with the goals of expand­ing producer sales and improving rural food access. In the F3B model, farmers sell boxes of fresh pro­duce in rural retail outlets to bring food to custo­mers with limited access to locally grown foods. We present pilot findings on indicators of relation­ship quality, communication of embedded value, and food environment, and compare these with extant research to assess whether F3B behaves like a DTC, VBSC, a traditional supply chain, or some­thing else entirely. Unlike much of the previous value-chain research, this work places a unique emphasis on the importance of the farmer-retailer relationship. We merge existing knowledge of DTC strategies and barriers with those of VBSCs and traditional supply chains to understand better the process of expanding into new outlets and con­sumer populations. We find that while the F3B model reduces some resource constraints, it adds a layer of complexity that requires time and expertise to develop a quality relationship between producers and retailers. Additionally, it is apparent that the F3B model must be tailored to fit local contexts of farmers and retailers participating in F3B market innovations.


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Author Biographies

Lauren Greco, University of Vermont

Community Development and Applied Economics (CDAE)

Jane Kolodinsky, University of Vermont

Director, Center for Rural Studies; Professor, Department of Com­munity Development Applied Economics

Marilyn Sitaker, The Evergreen State College

Ecological Agriculture and Food Systems

David Conner, University of Vermont

Department of Com­munity Development Applied Economics (CDAE)

University of Vermont College of Agriculture and Life Sciences logo



How to Cite

Greco, L., Kolodinsky, J., Sitaker, M., Chase, L., Conner, D., Estrin, H., Smith, D., & Van Soelen Kim, J. (2020). Farm Fresh Food Boxes: Relationships in Value Chain Partnerships. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 9(4), 113–129.



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