The Colusa County Resource Conservation District (CCRCD), working under funding from a USDA Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) grant, is beginning work on an exciting new project called COLUSA COUNTY GROWN. This project will promote Colusa County agricultural products using two strategies: a cohesive and recognizable brand for locally grown products and a consumer education campaign that highlights the benefits of purchasing local healthy food. The focus will be on producers who sell their agricultural products directly to the consumer through outlets such as farmers markets, farm stands, agritourism, Community Supported Agriculture, and internet sales.
The Colusa County Grown project will increase agricultural producers’ participation in direct marketing activities and increase consumer purchases of local agricultural products.
This will be accomplished through targeted marketing that will enhance the visibility of Colusa County producers and educate consumers to the benefits of buying local products. Regional branding of Colusa County Grown products will create a clear distinction between local products and other products so consumers can make an educated choice.
According to CCRCD staff, “The idea is to create a recognizable brand for our local agricultural products and to encourage consumers to shop locally. When consumers see the Colusa County Grown logo at a farmers market or roadside stand, they will know exactly where that product was produced. This project will give our local producers an economic boost, while providing consumers easier access to local food and healthier food choices. The project will also increase vendor and customer participation at our local farmers markets.”
“The project as a whole will create a strong connection between agriculture and community. We aim to provide viable economic opportunities for producers and bridge the gap between producers and consumers in Colusa County. We see this project not only benefiting producers, but in a larger context, it will benefit whole communities by bringing people together, fostering healthy lifestyles and enhancing the local economy.”
The CCRCD is beginning the first phase of the Colusa County Grown project now. Staff will identify local producers to participate in the program and conduct surveys to obtain baseline data from producers, consumers and farmers market managers. Efforts will be directed at gathering existing direct-to-consumer market data that will be utilized to evaluate shifts in local product sales during the project. Over the next several months, the CCRCD will conduct surveys, provide outreach to producers and stakeholders to introduce the project, and work to recruit growers and enlist community involvement in the project.
Through this project, the CCRCD will develop Colusa County Grown promotional materials including a website, logo, signage, nutrition and recipe cards, and a local food directory. Producers that participate in the program will receive marketing support, including marketing materials and listings on the Colusa County Grown website and in the Local Food Directory. If you are a producer that is interested in participating, or if you have questions, please contact the Colusa County Resource Conservation District at 530.458.2931 x3, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org