[Written by Anne-Marie Kaden. Read her bio at the end of this post. photo source: NC 10% Campaign]
Did you know that North Carolinians spend $35 billion on food each year? If we, as a whole, spent just 10% of that money on locally grown food, $3.5 billion dollars would be pumped right back into our state economy. That would mean an increase in economic activity (more people with more money usually means more spending, which cycles right back around to people having more money!), and an increase in job opportunities. As these farms and producers earn more money, they can pay their employees better or hire more people in their community.
That’s exactly what the NC 10% Campaign is working to do. By encouraging people all across the state to source more of their food from local farmers and producers, they are working to create a more sustainable local food economy. Eating fresh food isn’t just healthier, it is also a way to support your neighbors and community in a BIG way.
North Carolina is home to almost 4,000 farmers, 200+ farmers markets and over 100 CSA’s selling locally grown foods directly to consumers and many of them have joined the NC 10% Campaign as partners. We at The Community Market Co-op are proud to partner with the NC 10% Campaign and are committed to encouraging others to join us in this important initiative to build a stronger community and support our local food economy.
Let’s face it, making any change can be difficult. That’s why the NC 10% Campaign has designed a system to help you out along the way. When you join the campaign (free of charge, unless you’d like to make a cash donation), they will send you a short, three-question survey about your current food purchasing habits. Each week after, they’ll continue to send you a survey to help you track your progress and encourage you to find new ways to source your food locally. Whether that’s at a farmer’s market, roadside vegetable stand, pick-your-own farm, shopping at a cooperative grocery store or buying direct from a local farmer, they’ll help you find fresh local foods in your own community. Do you grow your own garden? Raise chickens or other livestock? That counts as local, too! The NC 10% Campaign incorporates those who harvest their own foods by tracking the amount of money they are saving.
At the NC 10% website, you can easily search for other community farmers markets, growers, producers and local co-ops where you can find locally produced and grown foods across the entire state. And, if you want to support others out there making the same kind of commitment, there are over 130 restaurants who have also joined the NC 10% Campaign through their Loyal Local Program. These vendors have chosen to purchase 10% of the foods they use in their kitchens from local growers. Next time you go out to eat, consider supporting them and their commitment to purchase locally.
We can’t think of a better way to grow our community and support our local growers than by making this very special commitment. We hope that you’ll consider joining us. Learn more, now, about the NC 10% Campaign.
Anne-Marie is a native Virginian who settled in Willow Spring, NC with her husband, two kids, a pair of rescue dogs and her horse. She splits her time between being a mom and volunteering in her community. Currently, she sits on the executive board for the Fuquay/Holly Springs chapter of MOMS Club and leads the Communications TAG Team for The Community Market. She is proud to serve her community and looks forward to helping those around her discover the beauty of North Carolina farmers and producers through the co-op.