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July 21, 2010

N.C. Cooperative Extension partners with 10% Campaign to promote local foods

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North Carolina Cooperative Extension and the Center for Environmental Farming Systems have teamed up to encourage North Carolina consumers to spend 10 percent of their food dollars on foods from local sources. The 10% Campaign was launched through a new website, www.nc10percent.com.

The website will allow consumers and business the opportunity to pledge to spend 10 percent of their food dollars locally, purchasing products from area farmers and food producers. Campaign participants will receive weekly email reminders to report how much money they spent on local food. The website will show consumers how their dollars spent on local foods grow.

North Carolinians spend about $35 billion a year on food. If each person spent just 10 percent on food locally – roughly $1.05 per day – then approximately $3.5 billion annually would be available in the state’s economy.

Cooperative Extension will support the project by providing a local foods coordinator who will help connect consumers and food producers and support local businesses and organizations who want to spend 10 percent of their food dollars locally. Local food coordinators will personally contact businesses and organizations that register through the website to help them develop a plan for purchasing local products.

To find out who is serving as your local foods coordinator, visit Cooperative Extension’s website and find a link to your county center. Then select “Local Foods” from the left-hand column.

In addition, the 10% Campaign website provides a “Find Local Foods” page with links to help consumers find local food and farm products in their own communities. A “Learn More” page includes links to information on a variety of partner organizations, such as Slow Food USA and Eat Smart, Move More NC. There are also links to educational information on topics ranging from how to set up a workplace community-supported agriculture program or how to cook seasonal, local products.

The Center for Environmental Farming Systems is a partnership of N.C. State University, N.C. A&T State University and the N.C. Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services that conducts research and provides education and outreach related to sustainable agriculture.

The Compass Group of Charlotte, the world’s largest food service provider, is leading the way in the campaign by pledging to purchase 10 percent of its food from local sources. Compass Group is developing a parallel model farm-to-institution buying program and will purchase 10 percent of the produce it serves in its North Carolina accounts from local farmers in the state.

Funding for the 10 Campaign and website is provided by Golden LEAF.

Posted by Natalie at July 21, 2010 05:11 PM