CEFS launches campaign to build North Carolina’s local food economy

Date posted: July 21, 2010

Media Contacts: Natalie Hampton, natalie_hampton@ncsu.edu or 919.513.3128
Meg O’Donnell, meg@capresults.net or office, 919.755.3804 or mobile, 919.349.2901

North Carolinians spend about $35 billion a year on food. If individuals spent 10 percent on foods produced locally — roughly $1.05 per day — about $3.5 billion would be available annually in the local economy.

The 10% Campaign features a new website — www.nc10percent.com — that allows consumers and businesses 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 also offers a wealth of information on buying local food and on organizations involved in this initiative.

“The 10% Campaign is truly a collaborative effort. Our intention is to support existing efforts to promote local foods and to develop new ones as needed,” said Dr. Nancy Creamer, CEFS co-director, based at N.C. State University. “Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project, Cabarrus County, North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services and so many others are already in the field, doing great work. The campaign will support and promote these and other efforts through the website and with the help of the local food coordinators.”

Critical to the success of the 10% Campaign is the active support of North Carolina Cooperative Extension. Extension has designated a local foods coordinator in all 100 counties and for the Eastern Band of the Cherokee to help connect consumers and food producers and support local businesses and organizations who want to participate in the 10% Campaign.

“CEFS could not have undertaken this statewide effort without Extension,” Creamer said. “These on-the-ground experts will provide consumers, producers and local businesses with key information and support. We are thrilled to have Extension as a partner.”

The Center for Environmental Farming Systems is a partnership of N.C. State University, N.C. A&T State University and N.C. Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services. CEFS conducts research and provides education and outreach related to sustainable agriculture. N.C. Cooperative Extension, based at N.C. State and N.C. A&T State universities, serves citizens of the state’s 100 counties and the Eastern Band of the Cherokee.

“In these challenging times, buying local foods will benefit our farmers and fishermen and help grow our economy,” said Dan Gerlach, Golden LEAF president. “Golden LEAF is proud to support the 10% Campaign because North Carolina’s agricultural products are fresh and flavorful.”

Compass Group, the world’s largest food service company, is another key partner. In addition to sourcing 10 percent of the produce it sells to all its North Carolina clients from local producers, Compass Group will also work with CEFS to develop a model farm-to-institution buying program. Additional business and organizational launch partners are listed on the campaign website.

There are three opportunities for businesses and organizations to participate in the 10% Campaign. They can pledge 10 percent of their purchasing/growing power; host a 10% Campaign employee/member challenge; or promote the campaign externally. Visit the website’s “About” page to learn more about campaign launch partners and how businesses can support the campaign.

Among the organizations pledging to support the campaign are N.C. State University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and N.C. A&T State University’s School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences. “Our institutions are pleased to support the 10% Campaign by making 10 percent of our food purchases for catered events local,” said Dr. John O’Sullivan, CEFS co-director, based at N.C. A&T State University. “Cooperative Extension is also a campaign partner, challenging our employees to join the 10% Campaign.”

For more information about participating in the campaign contact 10% Campaign Manager Teisha Wymore at nc10percent@ncsu.edu or 919.515.0244.

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