North Carolina Cooperative Extension in Gaston county will be supporting a new statewide effort to build North Carolina’s local food economy - entitled the 10% Campaign. The campaign is an effort to encourage North Carolina consumers to spend 10 percent of their food dollars on foods from local sources.
Through the campaign website – http://www.nc10percent.com/ -- consumers and businesses will 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 grows.
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 would be available in the state’s economy.
The Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) and Cooperative Extension are partners in the campaign. Extension, based at N.C. State and N.C. A&T State universities, serves all the state’s 100 counties and the Eastern Band of the Cherokee. CEFS is a partnership of N.C. State, N.C. A&T State and the N.C. Department of Agriculture & Consumer Sciences that provides research, outreach and education on sustainable education and promotes local food economies in North Carolina.
Cooperative Extension’s local foods coordinator 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. 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 to how to cook seasonal, local products.
To find out what’s happening with local foods in your county, visit your Cooperative Extension website at (http://gaston.ces.ncsu.edu/). A link to the Local Foods page can be found in the left hand column of your county center’s home page.
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.