Standards and Guidelines

I’m excited to introduce a video series, called Homegrown, that NC State Extension and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) have created to reconnect people with the food, landscapes and agriculture of North Carolina.

The primary objective of Homegrown is to raise the awareness and value of Extension, particularly among our urban/suburban communities in North Carolina. The series will include short, engaging YouTube videos that present practical solutions – backed by science – that address timely, relevant issues impacting people across the state.

Every month, Homegrown will share new videos highlighting tips and tools from Extension’s subject-matter experts across the state. The segments will illustrate “how-to” guidance and information on home horticulture and gardening; N.C. agriculture and our food systems; and the safe preparation and preservation of the foods we love.

Review this page for an overview of the Homegrown program standards and video guidelines.

Rich Bonanno
Director, NC State Extension

Video Guidelines

Homegrown will produce at least three (3) new videos per month – one for each main segment category – with final video topics determined by a program planning committee with input from employees and viewers.

The Litmus Test
When considering a potential topic or story for Homegrown, always start with: “What problem does this solve for the consumer?” Why should they care and how can we help them take swift, simple action?

Homegrown exists to address consumer needs by leveraging our network of expertise; our goal is not to provide program overviews, but to present specific outcomes that will benefit people in their daily lives.

Here are a few questions you can ask to confirm if a topic is a good fit for Homegrown:

  • Does your topic address a clear, relevant consumer need or interest?
  • Is your topic “trendy” or “timely”? Are people talking about it or thinking about it?
  • Is your topic relevant to our primary audience (e.g. families living in urban / suburban communities)?
  • Do you have a simple, research-based solution to offer? (We present facts, not opinions.)
  • Can your topic and solution be delivered in under 3 minutes?
  • Is your topic easily categorized into “Garden,” “Kitchen” or “Farm”?

Segment Categories
Segments are grouped into three categories: In The Garden, In The Kitchen and On The Farm.

  • In The Garden videos help guide green thumbs with seasonal tips from Extension’s horticultural experts and Extension Master GardenerSM volunteers on establishing and maintaining gardens, lawns, landscapes, and house plants. We’re also refreshing existing Almanac Gardener videos, which will be incorporated over time, and we expect the content categories to grow moving forward.
    • Home gardening
    • Landscapes
    • Houseplants
    • Urban horticulture
    • Weed control / pest management

  • In The Kitchen topics focus on safety practices for food preparation and preservation, tips for cooking nutritious and seasonal local foods, and even the occasional “celebrity” chef sharing their favorite N.C. foods and recipes alongside our Extension specialists and county agents.
    • Food safety
    • Food preservation
    • Cost-conscious nutrition
    • Recipes
    • Healthy cooking and eating

  • On The Farm segments introduce N.C. agriculture and the diversity of crops, ag technology and farm operations across the state. We’ll show you the life cycle of the foods you love, from the farm to your family’s table, including feedback from the farmers who produce the food and products that impact our daily lives.
    • Farm-to-fork process / Food life cycle
    • Agricultural production (small- and large-scale operations)
    • Animal care and welfare
    • Antibiotics, GMOs, hormones
    • Food and market terms (e.g. all natural, grass-fed, organic/conventional, local)
    • Farmer stories (Extension clients & partnerships)


Length and Tone

  • Videos will be roughly 2-3 minutes (no more than 5 minutes)
  • Address a very specific and timely topic of importance to North Carolinians
  • Keep the messaging simple, conversational and to the point
  • It’s still OK to have fun – Homegrown videos should be engaging, vibrant and social-friendly
  • Get your shoes muddy! Capture on-site footage, interesting visuals and take viewers to places they might not otherwise see


  • Innovative
  • Intellectual
  • Purposeful
  • Trusted
  • Caring

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Reconnecting people with N.C. food, landscapes and agriculture

Target Audiences

  • Home and community gardeners Key Message: Homegrown delivers practical, research-backed advice on getting the most out of your garden in a brief, consumer-friendly video.
  • Household food decision-makers Key Message: Engaging videos delivering the latest science-backed information to help you select and prepare cost effective, healthy meals that delight your family.
  • K-12 educators and students Key Message: Expert information on foods from farm to kitchen delivered in a youth-friendly video format.
  • Influencers and state / local leaders Key Message: A video series designed to help North Carolinians make informed, sustainable and healthy food choices.

Review the chart at right for a more detailed breakdown of our key audiences.
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Submitting Segment Ideas & Videos

Follow the link below to let us know if you would like Homegrown to address a specific topic in one of our video categories. Please share as many details as possible, including the Extension expert(s) that would be featured, topic overview, potential dates and locations, and the target timeframe to launch the final video.

If you already have a video that you’d like us to consider featuring, include a link in the contact form to view it on YouTube, or let us know who to contact to access the video.

When creating or submitting your own videos, be mindful of the Homegrown program guidelines summarized on this page, as well as our respective NC State Extension and CALS brand identities:

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Meet the Homegrown Team

A “Homegrown Planning Committee” meets monthly to review content and production plans, develop marketing and promotional efforts, and chart the course for this groundbreaking Extension video series. The committee collectively guides the direction of the program to ensure alignment with Extension/CALS strategic priorities and to help drive long-term success for Homegrown.
  • Gisela Aquino, Graphic Design – Gisela, our resident design guru, lends her creative expertise to the visual communication component for Homegrown, supporting our efforts to create marketing and promotional materials that grow awareness and engagement with the program.
  • Sara Awad, Social Media Specialist – Sara promotes the program on the NC State Extension and CALS social channels, helping to connect North Carolinians with Homegrown in unique, engaging ways. She manages the Homegrown YouTube channel and also surveys the social landscape for agricultural, horticultural and food discussions where Extension can lend our voice and expertise to grow relationships.
  • Richard Campbell, CALS Chief Comm. Officer – Richard leads the CALS Comm. team, providing overall direction and oversight for all college communications initiatives. He has been instrumental in helping Homegrown evolve from an ambitious concept into a tangible resource, which will continue to grow, for all North Carolinians.
  • Kionna Coleman, Web Development – Kionna oversaw development of the series website and helps provide IT support to keep the Homegrown site humming along.
  • Ken Ellzey and Chris Liotta, CALS Video Producers – our seasoned video crew is responsible for shooting, editing and managing post-production aspects for all Homegrown segments, including posting videos to the Homegrown YouTube channel.
  • Mike Gray, Executive Producer – longtime Almanac Gardener host Mike Gray now helps helm the Homegrown production schedule, coordinating timely topics with our Extension experts and other participants, confirming shoot locations and production timelines with CALS video producers, and finalizing monthly production plans with the Homegrown planning committee.
  • Justin Moore and Julie Hayworth-Perman, NC State Extension Marketing – Justin and Julie oversee and guide the day-to-day operations and strategic direction of Homegrown. They work in tandem with the planning committee and NC State Extension / CALS Comm. leadership to define and drive program objectives, coordinate planning processes, support content development and market Homegrown to internal and external stakeholders.
  • A collection of other CALS talent contribute to various Homegrown efforts at times, from website features and educational resources, to content development and strategic marketing. The Homegrown team extends a special thanks to these folks who provide immense value to the program.

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Marketing Resources

Discover additional tools to help you promote the program and raise awareness of Extension through our Homegrown series in your community.

Look for these and other resources soon!

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