By Kathleen Majorsky
Inspired by Michelle Ferrier’s love for gardening and farmers markets, Locally Grown News is an online community that centers around eating locally grown food and living sustainable, healthy lifestyles.
Ferrier calls her site hyper-local/hyper-topical, and hopes that the model she has developed around the site will prove to be scalable in other niche markets and other communities.
“The local food issue really does touch all of those areas [environmental issues, sustainability issues, local commerce issues]. Somebody could basically grow the site starting with local food and then expand to those other areas as they are able to grow their organization. So there was some real thought into this model as it was being developed,” Ferrier says.
In the particular case of a hyper-local/hyper-topical site like Locally Grown News, Ferrier wants to impress upon others that it can be done while holding down a full-time job.
“You can start growing this and as you develop your revenue you can quit your day job and ease into this without having to risk your life, your mortgage, your kids or anything else in the process,” Ferrier says.
In order to reach the scalability Ferrier is aiming for, she says it requires a core team that would take care of the content side, while she would focus on scaling the hyper-local/hyper-topical model.
As she works on scaling the Locally Grown News model, she still is in charge of content, but the community around the local food movement helps her fill in the content she can’t get to.
“I’ve built a network of contacts [Food policy councils, people who are talking about local food, people who are interested in community gardens]. They tend to be the kind of word-of-mouth transmitters that will tell me about what’s going on in the community so I don’t have to be everywhere,” Ferrier says.
It is the passion for the Locally Grown News product that keeps Ferrier going.
“You really have to love being in the community that you are in, really want to serve it with a good quality product and create something that is memorable. Passion is the first thing you learn,” Ferrier says.
Kathleen Majorsky is writing a series of posts called “Who is Block by Block?” for The Patterson Foundation website to introduce the foundation community to the sites and publishers whose work the foundation is supporting through Block by Block. We’re cross posting them here..