By Clint Thompson
The Georgia Grown program continues to expand every year and highlights products grown in the state, like blueberries, pecans, milk and Vidalia onions. Its presence at events throughout the year, like the Sunbelt Ag Expo, allows the Georgia Department of Agriculture to showcase Georgia grown products, which help make agriculture the No. 1 industry in the state.
“If it’s grown in Georgia, we can promote it and we will,” said Lee Lancaster, marketing specialist for the Vidalia region for the Georgia Department of Agriculture Marketing Division. “We have people looking for that logo now. They know that if it says Georgia Grown on it, it is grown in the state of Georgia. It’s not from a foreign country, foreign source or another state. People seek that out.
“They know that Georgia Grown means quality. They know that Georgia Grown means that’s an actual Vidalia onion from the actual Vidalia onion region. They know that sweet corn came from down around Camilla or Bainbridge. The pecans come from Camilla or the orchards around Reidsville, middle Georgia, Hawkinsville, and places like that. It adds value to your product.”
Last year, the program partnered with more than 168 Kroger stores in Georgia as part of the “Milk Makes Amazing” promotion. Its aim is to educate consumers about the benefits of milk and dairy foods. Guests who shop at Kroger stores in Georgia will see Georgia Grown milk and dairy products on display, according to Lancaster.
“We’ve been expanding every year, since Commissioner Gary Black came into office in 2011. He sought the Georgia Grown program. He built it from the ground up, from scratch, basically,” Lancaster said. “We’ve used Georgia Grown agricultural products, from the farm; things that were manufactured in the state of Georgia, using raw materials from the Georgia farms to promote it throughout the United States, especially in the state of Georgia.”
The Georgia Grown program will be featured in a special symposium slated for Feb. 11–12 at the Marriott Macon City Hotel in Macon, Georgia. The two-day event will include educational breakout sessions for craft food producers, agritourism operators and school nutrition directors. On the second day, the symposium will the hit the road for an all-day farm tour to agritourism operations in the area. The stops include peanut growers, peanut production facilities and a Georgia Grown retail experience.
See more information on the Georgia Grown Symposium.
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