Food Council and Visit NC Farms App
How food councils can expand NCDA’s farm locator app
Opportunity to better promote local farms & food businesses!
Calling all food councils
Does your council want to do more to promote local food and farm products and businesses in your community? Is your council already or want to be the hub for local food actors in the community? Do you want another opportunity to connect with various decision makers and players to jointly advocate for local foods promotion? Then consider partnering with the Visit NC Farms App from the NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
The initial wave of COVD-19 concerns sparked an increase in consumer demand for local farm products and a dramatic shift to online marketing for farmers.
For the general consumer in COVID times, it can be difficult to know what food is in season and healthy, what farms have those products, and where to find these farms. App users can use categories to quickly search unique products found throughout NC and filter the map for closest farm locations to them.
For farmers during COVID times, marketing is key to continue moving products since losing a major part of the commercial food market. The app team can push notifications alerts of farmers’ updates on farm stand locations, pick-up sites, hours, and products available.
One of the tools farmers and consumers have turned to is the Visit NC Farms App from the NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. More than 20 counties across the state are actively promoting farms, fisheries, food and drink businesses, agritourism events, activities, and lodging, and farmers’ markets through this app. As conveners, local food councils could serve a key role in the data collection of all local food actors and promoting local food through this app!
How can you help?
- Learn about the role of the app administrator and talk with your council to see if this is a role that you could support
- Talk with Cooperative Extensions, Departments of Tourism, Chambers of Commerce, and others to jointly advocate and seek funding for this app.
- Promote and participate in an upcoming webinar just for food councils
- Download the app, “Vote for the Next County” and you’ll get an email with contacts for key decision makers to connect with
The app and its team is pushing statewide expansion county by county. Some counties are opting to partner with other counties to form a region, which can further reduce costs for all involved. With low cost to each county and great potential for increased promotion and sales, this app could provide an opportunity for local food councils to serve a key role in connecting and promoting local foods businesses in your region.
What’s needed to start the app in your region:
- A designated county representative who will act as app administrator, who will be responsible for data management for their county*
- Typically 1-5 hours per week on the app, although the app administrator job could be full time.
- Duties include:
- Contacting farms and businesses to gather listings for their county
- Keeping content current on the app
- Marketing and otherwise increasing engagement with the app in their community
- A spreadsheet of assets (farms/fisheries, farmers’ markets, businesses, agritourism sites, etc) to upload to the app
- $5500 for initial set-up for up to 50 assets
- Cost-share programs are available
*The App team will provide training, ongoing support, and marketing resources to the app administrator.
Typically, Cooperative Extensions, Departments of Tourism, Chambers of Commerce, and Local Food Councils have helped to fund and lead adoption of the app in their counties.
If your Council is interested in getting your county involved with this project, the app team (contact info below) can help put you in touch with anyone that may have expressed interest previously from your area.
For information about next steps and getting involved, please contact:
Victoria Patterson – firstname.lastname@example.org
Matt Paysour – email@example.com