By: Lloyd Green Jr.
The Colusa County Resource Conservation District recently held a “kick-off” meeting for our newest project, Colusa County Grown. Colusa County Grown will promote Colusa County agricultural producers who sell their products directly to the consumer. Similar efforts have proven successful in Placer County (Placer Grown), Capay Valley (Capay Valley Grown), Solano County (Solano Grown), and many others.
“I am excited about this project for many reasons.” Said program coordinator Mary Fahey, “I am a small scale agricultural producer myself, and I sell my products directly to the consumer through a variety of outlets.”
Fahey was the first individual to start the Colusa County’s certified farmers market in Arbuckle and continues to manage the market into its fifth season.
“I have firsthand knowledge of the challenges that small scale farmers face in getting their name and their products out to local consumers in a rural county.” Said Fahey.
Colusa County Grown will provide exposure and marketing expertise to local growers, while giving consumers the information and incentives they need to find and purchase local products. The project will bridge the gap between local producers and consumers, and also has great potential to enhance the visibility of Colusa County’s amazing agricultural landscape to folks outside of our area. This project is also an excellent opportunity for the RCD to work with all of the communities throughout the entire county.
“We had a great turnout at the kick-off meeting for the CCRCD’s latest project, Colusa County Grown.” Said Fahey, “There was approximately 18 people in attendance, including gricultural producers, CDFA, California Women for Agriculture, Master Gardeners, Garden Club and a County Supervisor.”
Topics discussed included an introduction to the Colusa County Resource Conservation District, an overview of the Farmers Market Promotion Program (funder for this project), and an overview of the Colusa County Grown project. We also presented the project timeline, discussed eligibility to participate in the program and presented our goal, which is to increase the visibility and economic viability of Colusa County agriculture and to increase consumer awareness.
“We hope to also create a plan to sustain Colusa County Grown past the life of the grant.” Said Fahey.
The remainder of the meeting was a group discussion about ways in which producers can help with the program such as helping to solicit participation from other producers, hanging flyers and posters and helping to promote the program.
“We also received feedback on the logo and theme that will be used on all marketing materials.” Said Fahey.
At the end of the meeting, producers were given surveys to help convey the project and will be used to measure project success.
“We will also be surveying consumers and our two local farmers markets.” Said Fahey.
By project end, the group hopes to see the following results: Producers: increased sales and sales opportunities, Consumers: increased awareness of local shopping opportunities, increased knowledge of the benefits of fresh, local produce, and increased loyalty to shopping locally, Farmers markets: increased sales, increased vendor and consumer participation at the markets.
“Our next steps include conducting surveys and working on mocking up a few potential logos and getting those out for review.” Said Fahey, “We will have sample logos at the Colusa County Fair, in the horticulture building, with an opportunity to vote for your favorite concept!”
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