With the recession in mind, Drake University is again promoting a food campaign that will help Iowans keep more money in their pockets by buying local food while supporting local farmers and businesses.
The Drake University Agricultural Law Center is promoting the 2009 Greater Des Moines Buy Fresh Buy Local (BFBL) campaign, which aims to increase production and sales of fresh, local foods.
The food marketing campaign, which began in 2004, is building a network of local farms, restaurants, food retailers and processors to expand the program in the seven-county region surrounding Des Moines — Polk, Boone, Dallas, Jasper, Madison, Marion, and Warren counties. The campaign also includes Iowa farms from more distant counties that sell their food in the Greater Des Moines market.
Last year’s campaign success
During 2008, the campaign collected 1,556 pledges from consumers committed to buying fresh, local foods every week during the growing season. Greater Des Moines BFBL also produces a regular electronic newsletter informing Central Iowans about what is happening and what is fresh throughout the year.
Based on a survey of people who took the pledge, 60 percent of households spent $25 or more on local foods in a typical summer week in 2008. In 2007, 52 percent of households spent $25 or more on local foods.
In addition, 87 percent of people surveyed agreed that they are eating more fruits and vegetables because locally grown produce tastes better and 96 percent said that their interest in locally grown foods comes from a desire to support local farmers.
“This is an excellent opportunity for farms and businesses to work together to promote food grown right here in central Iowa,” says Matt Russell, state food policy project coordinator and BFBL coordinator at the Drake University Agricultural Law Center. “Buy Fresh Buy Local is a campaign based on cooperation among more than 60 farms and 20 businesses, and new members are always welcome.”
Join the campaign
Drake is recruiting local farms and businesses to join the campaign and be listed in the new Buy Fresh Buy Local directory. Farms and businesses can join the campaign by sending an e-mail to BFBL@drake.edu, by calling 515-271-4956 for membership information or by going online to www.buyfreshdrake.org to register.
The membership fee is $50 for each farm, but farmers can apply for scholarships to defray this cost if the fee is prohibitive to their participation. Registration for businesses is $100. Farms and businesses must register by Friday, March 27, to be listed in this year’s directory.
In addition, Drake will conduct consumer outreach and provide a range of Buy Fresh Buy Local promotional materials to help farms, restaurants, retailers and food processors identify with the campaign.
For more information, contact Matt Russell at 515-271-4956 or firstname.lastname@example.org.