The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, has revealed the app’s true potential and continued success. Now, more than ever, consumers value local food purchases and supporting their local economies, creating a unique market for the Visit NC Farms app’s relevancy and flexibility for both farms and consumers. By investing in the app, communities have the ability to harness technology to meet their individual needs.
When a community joins, the app offers the following benefits:
- Assets within the app benefit from 24-hour update and marketing push notifications. On average, each push notification reaches between 1,500 – 3,000 users.
- Consumers can filter to identify farmers markets, farm stands and individual farms offering produce, protein and horticulture items closest to them. Consumers can also filter by farm products, including food hubs and food pantries.
- Agriculture is the state’s top industry representing 728,000 jobs. When agriculture is supported, North Carolina communities are too. Using the app’s capabilities to connect community to agriculture is one way to keep cash flowing and local businesses open.
- When the country heals and the state is fully ready for business again, your community will be well positioned to let residents and consumers ready for “staycations” and short-distance drives know what’s available to them. Once our lives stabilize, it will be farms that can and will attract a lot more visitors because of the open spaces and unique family centered business models.
As economic recovery occurs post COVID-19, the Visit NC Farms app has the potential to connect the 51 million individual visitors to North Carolina annually and the 10+ million residents to local food and agribusiness-based assets, in real time. The app is strategically developed as an economic development tool to boost the state’s top agribusiness industry of $92.7 billion. The goal is to boost community vibrancy by connecting the dots for consumers to the ways in which individual farms and fisheries monetize themselves, to sustain and add jobs, and to enhance the value of agriculture to the tourism economy.