How to really farm out work to a Wellesley design firm


Valerie Gates, creative director for Gates Studio in Wellesley, has come up with a novel way to help local farms better get the word out about themselves while also seeing to it that her family eats more healthy food.

Here’s how it works:

For the first 5 farms that respond to the offer, made public initially last Friday via the Southeastern Massachusetts Agricultural Partnership newsletter, they’ll get Gates Studio design and branding services in exchange for organic food or Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares. The idea being to give local farms a better chance to compete for market attention vs. well-heeled competitors.

The next 5 farms that respond get a 75% discount on studio services, the next 5 a 50% discount and the next 5 a 25% break.

“Of the 16 farms and growers that have contacted me so far, they are looking for a variety of branding needs from logo design to website design and development to signage to their farms. One winery also wanted tent cards designed for restaurant tables,” Gates says.

She plans on picking the first 5 farms and starting design work next week.


Gates, who operates the studio with her husband Barry Friedman, has begun documenting her effort in a new blog called “Will Work for Food.” Among other things, we’ll get to follow the progress of the farms’ design work and find out how much her family (including children Olivia and Cameron) enjoy eating organic meats and produce. She says she got inspired in part by reading the books Omnivore’s Dilemma and Animal, Vegetable and Miracle this winter.

It’s possible that the farm project could be the start of something bigger. Gates says she will look to develop a part of the studio into “a venture of sustainable design for green companies.”