North Carolina residents and businesses bought more than $5.7 million worth of local food in the first year of the 10% Campaign, a statewide effort to stimulate economic development, create jobs and promote farms and fisheries in the state.
The Center for Environmental Farming Systems, based at the NCDA&CS Cherry Research Farm in Goldsboro, launched the campaign in July 2010 in partnership with N.C. Cooperative Extension and with a grant from Golden LEAF Foundation. The campaign encourages individuals, businesses, community organizations, colleges, universities and hospitals to invest 10 percent of their food budget on foods produced within North Carolina. It also has fostered the development and promotion of regional buy-local food initiatives.
Individuals can sign up for the campaign and track their spending and growing power on a weekly basis through an online interactive dashboard. Businesses and organizations can participate in the campaign in three ways: Pledge 10 percent of their purchasing/growing power; host an employee/member challenge; and promote the campaign externally.
More than 4,000 individuals signed up during the campaign’s first year. They were joined by 321 businesses including grocery stores and restaurants.
“The campaign’s success is the result of work of thousands of individuals across the state,” said Nancy Creamer, director of CEFS. “We are building a local food economy, an economy that creates real jobs and opportunities while supporting access to healthy, locally produced foods.”