Memo to Cooperative Extension
From Dr. Joe Zublena and Dr. M. Ray McKinnie
North Carolina Cooperative Extension is supporting the 10% Campaign, aimed at encouraging consumers to spend 10 percent of their food dollars locally, by providing an agent in each county to serve as a local foods coordinator. In addition, Extension has signed on to promote the campaign and support a 10% Campaign Employee Challenge.
We are encouraging Cooperative Extension employees around the state to join the campaign through the website, www.nc10percent.com, and pledge to purchase 10 percent of your food from local sources. The 10% Campaign is an effort by the Center for Environmental Farming Systems and N.C. Cooperative Extension to build a local food economy in North Carolina.
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.
Through the campaign website, 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 let consumers see how their dollars were spent on local foods grow across the state.
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.
Cooperative Extension’s local foods coordinators will help connect consumers and food producers and support local businesses and organizations that 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.
By joining the campaign, you will be supporting food producers in your community and helping to keep dollars invested in local businesses. And, you’ll have the support of your Local Foods Coordinator right in your office. Also, we encourage you to designate “local foods” events in the Extension calendar, including things like food preservation or gardening workshops.
When you register on the campaign website, you’ll be prompted to identify where you learned about the 10% Campaign. Feel free to choose “employer,” if appropriate. Thanks for all you do in your community and for considering support of this worthwhile initiative.