More than 150 farmers are part of the Sweet Grown Alabama database. Director Ellie Watson believes the sweetgrownalabama website is an integral part of connecting the state’s producers with its consumers.
“We have a pretty great representation across all counties and all areas of the state. Of course, we’re still looking to grow that database,” Watson said. “We know that 150 folks is just a drop in the bucket of great farmers in the state of Alabama. We’re still looking for great farmers to join our network and become part of this family.”
Watson and other Alabama agricultural leaders continue to promote the “buy local” initiative which focuses on consumers supporting farmers in their state. This new website allows consumers to access information relevant to the commodity they’re searching for as well as determine where growers are located.
“It’s been really tough for consumers to connect with farmers directly up until now. Now consumers have a one-stop shop where they can find all of the local farmers in their area. It may even connect them with farmers who are right down the road,” Watson said.
“One of my growers told me (the other) week that he had a lady who lived not three miles down the road who didn’t even know he existed. Through Sweet Grown Alabama she was able to connect with him. He said she purchased about $250 worth of his product. To find those local farmers and allow consumers to make those connections with folks right in their neighborhood is an invaluable resource.”
Variety of Options
The website is also not limited to traditional fruits and vegetables, either.
“Not only do we have a great listing of produce growers, but we also have farmers who are producing things like beef and pecans and other non-traditional produce products. It really is a network you can find any product that is grown in Alabama,” Watson said. “We don’t grow everything in the state of Alabama, but we encourage consumers, when they have the option and when it’s in season, to purchase from Alabama farmers first.”