Alegría Fresh: Case Study

The Company:
Alegría Fresh delivers bouquets of fresh nutritious leafy greens, medicinal herbs, and heirloom vegetables from Alegría Farm directly to customers. The produce is grown using commercial hydroponic vertical farming technology, including over 170 hydroponic towers that grow over 10,000 plants in less than 1/20th acre. Alegría Farm is Orange County’s first hydroponic vertical farm and the first West Coast showcase for the Verti-Gro® system, which uses no soil, 90 percent less water, 70 percent less land, 50 percent less fertilizer than traditional organic farming and zero toxic pesticides.  This high performance growing system produces clean, natural food faster than traditional farming and allows plants to grow bigger and stronger, making plants naturally pest resistant. Hydroponic farming is soilless and utilizes coconut fiber instead of organic soil, which virtually eliminates toxic pesticide usage to produce stronger plants that are substantially more nutrient-rich.

The Challenge:
As a new company, the biggest challenge Alegría Fresh faced was finding customers, especially amid the rise of fresh farm produce delivery. Additionally, because it utilizes new technology with which many are unfamiliar, reaching and convincing consumers to choose Alegría Fresh over other fresh produce delivery services created additional challenges. Therefore, educating consumers of the significant advantages of choosing Alegría Fresh’s nutritious produce, and its farming practices, over more traditional methods of obtaining produce was vital.

The Strategy:
J McLeish Public Relations chose to use a mixture of print media, social networking, and blogs for the campaign, tapping into the current media trend of urban framing but focusing on what makes Alegría Fresh and its farming unique. Alegría Fresh’s utilization of an innovative and ecological type of farming created a huge opportunity to educate the public and spread the word about its services and merits. JMPR took advantage of the building of the farm to create a buzz about Alegría Fresh before it even opened, communicating every milestone to the public. Additionally, as restaurants and other businesses became clients, JMPR capitalized on the partnerships to spread the word about Alegría Fresh and its produce.

The popularity of the green movement, urban farming and health in the media created ideal environments for articles about Alegría Fresh. Fitting in with the urban farming debate with a unique angle because of the new, better technology created many media opportunities for Alegría Fresh. Because of the innovative technology, many groups, like Swiss teachers and Japanese businessmen, have toured the farm, providing additional opportune moments for media attention.

The significant health aspects of eating the fresh, leafy greens from Alegría Fresh have also allowed for significant media opportunities, especially with the rise of obesity and health problems. Eating healthy, like the food at Alegría Fresh, provides an alternative to health problems that are abundantly discussed by the media. JMPR used these current media discussions on health as an outlet to discuss the benefits of Alegría Fresh.

The Results:
From the building of the farm to the beginning of produce delivery and beyond, numerous stories have been published in various media outlets, including local newspapers, magazines, and blogs. Additionally, nationwide and international interest in the farm techniques at Alegría Fresh has developed. The media buzz increased knowledge and interest in Alegría Fresh, creating a gain in subscribers.

Example of major media hits included:
Orange Coast Magazine
Coastline Pilot
Laguna Beach Independent Newspaper
OC Register
OC Metro
Orange County Mom Blog
The Packer
Heritage Radio Network
Daily Pilot
Seedstock Blog
Orange Coast Blog
Dining Blog—Orange Coast Magazine
Laguna Beach Patch
San Clemente News
Coast Magazine
Mission Viejo News
Laguna Beach Magazine
Greentech Media

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