Sweet Grown Alabama puts the spotlight on local farmers
Today’s farmers face a variety of challenges, but a new group is working to make sure reaching retailers and customers isn’t one of them. Sweet Grown Alabama is a nonprofit foundation formed with the goal of helping farmers across the state to better identify their products for local shoppers.
“The idea behind the program is that farmers can join to receive a license to use the Sweet Grown Alabama logo on their products to show that they are grown here in the state,” says Sweet Grown Alabama Director Ellie Watson. “Then consumers will be able to easily identify products grown in Alabama by looking for that logo at the farmers market or grocery store.”
Sweet Grown Alabama was born out of a partnership between the Alabama Farmers Federation and the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries. While the concept is new for Alabama, it has been put to the test in other states, and the outcome is promising.
“We believe from looking at data from other states that consumers will purchase a local product over organic, non-GMO or any of the buzzword marketing trends we see today,” Watson says. “That means grocery stores will pay farmers a little more for product grown in Alabama, and the farmer’s bottom line will increase.”
Sweet Grown Alabama is also building an online database that will serve as a one-stop reference for anyone looking to buy from local farmers. Launching this spring, the database will be available to both consumers and retailers who want to know what their area farmers are growing and where they can purchase their produce.
“Our hope is that Sweet Grown Alabama can fill a gap that’s been missing in Alabama agriculture,” Watson says. “We want to be the unifying voice to promote all of the agricultural products across the state. We’re not looking at one growing method over another or one commodity over another. We’re about supporting all the things that are grown from the rich soil here in Alabama.”