The Drake University Agricultural Law Center will again this summer promote increased production and sales of fresh, local foods through the Greater Des Moines Buy Fresh, Buy Local campaign. In fact, you'll see "Buy Fresh, Buy Local" posters at farmers' markets in Iowa this spring and summer.
The food marketing campaign aims to build a network of local farms, restaurants, food retailers and processors to expand the Buy Fresh, Buy Local program in the eight-county region surrounding Des Moines. Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield is again providing major sponsorship for the campaign to help consumers connect healthy eating with wellness.
"We are excited that Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield will again play a significant role in the Buy Fresh, Buy Local campaign," says Matt Russell, BFBL coordinator and state food policy project coordinator at the Ag Law Center. "It's great to have such a well-known Iowa health-care company partner with us. We will again focus on the health benefits of fresh and local foods."
Last year's campaign a success
During 2007, the campaign collected 1,835 pledges from consumers committed to buying fresh, local foods every week during the growing season. Based on a survey of these participants, more than half of them spent $25 or more on local foods in a typical summer week in 2007.
In addition, 94% said a desire to support local farmers was one of the reasons for their growing interest in buying local foods. And 77% indicated they increased their spending on local foods because of the Buy Fresh Buy Local campaign.
According to those surveyed, the Greater Des Moines Buy Fresh, Buy Local campaign was most successful in encouraging people to try new vegetables and to visit Buy Fresh, Buy Local retailers.
You can join the 2008 campaign
Drake is recruiting local farmers to join the campaign and be listed in the new Buy Fresh, Buy Local directory. Farmers can join the campaign by sending an e-mail to [email protected] or by calling 515-271-4956 for membership information. The Greater Des Moines Buy Fresh, Buy Local campaign includes farmers from Polk, Boone, Dallas, Jasper, Madison, Marion, Story, Warren and surrounding counties.
The membership fee is $50 for each farm, but thanks to support from Gateway Market in Des Moines, farmers can apply for scholarships to defray this cost. Farmers must register by March 28, to have their farm listed in the directory.
Drake recently mailed an invitation to participate to more than 200 farms, but membership is open to any farmer whose farm aligns with the goals of the campaign. Local food businesses are also being recruited. Farms and businesses can register online by following the Buy Fresh, Buy Local link at www.law.drake.edu/aglaw.
Staff at the Drake Ag Law Center, which includes marketing and law student interns, will print and distribute 40,000 directories. Staff and students also will promote the campaign at the Downtown Des Moines Farmers' Market on Saturday mornings and other local farmers markets in June, July and August.
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 information, contact Matt Russell at 515-271-4956 or [email protected]. The Buy Fresh, Buy Local logo is available by request. Contact [email protected] or 515-271-1834.