10% Campaign Off to Strong Start

January/February 2011 • Category: Features Print This Page Print This Page

10% Campaign Off to Strong Start10% Campaign Off to Strong Start Farm Bureau launches healthy living for a lifetime Initiative10% Campaign Off to Strong Start

If organizers achieve their goals, thousands of North Carolina residents will be obtaining more food that probably came from somewhere within their county—rather than from the other side of the country or the world.

The Center for Environmental Farming Systems, (CEFS) with support from N.C. Cooperative Extension and the Golden LEAF Foundation, began the 10 Percent Campaign last year. It’s an effort to educate and encourage consumers to spend 10 percent of their food dollars on locally sourced food.

In less than six months, the results have been pretty noteworthy. CEFS says between July and November of last year, North Carolinians spent more than $2 million on food from local sources.

“I believe this is a reflection of the true commitment that North Carolina consumers have shown for their own local food systems,” says Teisha Wymore, the 10 Percent Campaign Manager. “As campaign participation grows, the dollars spent on local food also will continue to grow.”

Organizers say the program should be a huge benefit to more than just local growers. They add North Carolinians spend $35 billion on food each year. If just 10 percent went to local growers, the 10 Percent Campaign calculates that more than $3.5 billion would be available in the state’s economy.
“In these challenging times, buying local food will benefit our farmers and fishermen and help grow our economy,” says Dan Gerlach, Golden LEAF Foundation President.

More than 1,700 individuals and 161 businesses have signed up for the campaign. The businesses and institutions that have pledged to spend 10 percent of their food dollars on food from local sources include restaurants, grocery stores and co-ops, universities, corporate food service programs and state agencies.
N.C. Cooperative Extension is supporting the 10 Percent Campaign by providing an extension agent in each county office to serve as the local food coordinator, providing education and supporting businesses that want to participate in the campaign.

“CEFS could not have undertaken this statewide effort without Extension,” says co-director John O’Sullivan. “These ground experts will provide consumers, producers and local businesses with key information and support.”

North Carolina’s rich agricultural resources were yet another reason why organizers started the 10 Percent Campaign.

“North Carolina is uniquely positioned to capitalize on the increased consumer demand for locally produced foods,” says CEFS co-director Nancy Creamer. “Agriculture is the backbone of our economy. The state’s climate, soils and coastal resources support production of a wide variety of produce, meats, fish and seafood.

“We have the capacity to build a robust local food economy to the benefit of all,” Creamer went on to say. “The 10 Percent Campaign will help get us there.”

On the Web:
10 Percent Campaign

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