The Goodness Grows in North Carolina program began in 1985, and the Got to Be NC marketing program started in summer 2005, assisting farmers, particularly those that provide added value to their commodities to market their products. Jeff Thomas, Manager of the Goodness Grows program describes where they’ve been, and where they’re going from here:
“We try to be creative in everything that we do. We want to make it a fun and interactive experience because we feel that the things that people enjoy they will grow to be an advocate for. People tend to think of agriculture in a traditional sense, things growing out of the ground, and not all the other businesses involved that can support agriculture. There is a peanut company that has taken a commodity crop and turned it into an added value product, different flavors of peanuts, butters and brittles. Being able to work with companies like them, to bring the awareness to them, and put it together with an event like the Got To Be NC Festival, it gets the consumer interested in it and allows us to interact with them. Once you can do that, it helps to spread the message of why it’s important to buy local.
The catch phrase ‘buy local’ has caught on the past few years and it has helped us. Over the past six years we have gone from an 1100 company membership to almost 3000. It’s a tribute to the companies getting out there and promoting what they are doing along with the new promotions that we are doing to get the consumer involved.
The program continues to grow. You can tell by the companies h here at the festival and the different types of products they are selling. We are also working with the retailers and the food service restaurants. As we move forward I think the business of agriculture will further widen its lead as number one in North Carolina.”
In 2011 agriculture had more than two times the economic impact of the second largest industry which is the military.
Jeff Thomas, Manager of the Goodness Grows in North Carolina Program on Inside Agriculture.
You can learn more about this program by visiting their website.