Thrive: September 19 event launches new “Grocers Buy Local” campaign

Contact: Jennifer Smith, Thrive, 608‐443‐1961, [email protected]

Find this online at: http://www.thrivehere.org/media

VERONA – Good news for the increasing number of consumers looking to buy local foods: a group of Wisconsin organizations are working to match local grocery stores with more than 50 local farmers and food companies and launch a new Grocers Buy Local campaign.

Sept. 19 will mark the official public launch of the initiative at Miller & Sons Supermarket in Verona, Wis. The event is the first in what will be a series of events taking place this fall in participating grocery stores around southern Wisconsin. From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., several local farmers and food companies will sample their locally‐grown and produced foods inside Miller & Sons, which will feature a total of 50 local foods produced in Wisconsin, using special signage and information.

“Miller & Sons is proud to host the official launch of this statewide program. As an independent local business, we are always happy to support Wisconsin farms and food processors, and our customers appreciate it, too,” says owner Carl Miller.

“Grocers Buy Local” is a consortium of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Wisconsin Grocers Association, Thrive and UW‐Extension. The program aims to increase the visibility of local foods by revitalizing the state’s Something Special from WisconsinTM trademark program. The initiative promotes food products from across the state, and is being implemented on a pilot basis in groceries in the eight‐ county region of south‐central Wisconsin.

A 2008 report by the Hartman Group reveals 77 percent of consumers are looking to buy local food. Today, more than 50 percent of every consumer’s food dollar is spent eating at home, and most of that food is purchased in traditional grocery stores.

“Grocery consumers need a fast and easy way to identify local foods. Grocery mangers need a simple, cost‐effective way to promote local foods. That’s why we partnered with key players and developed the Grocers Buy Local campaign. It brings the whole picture together – consumers, producers, distributors and grocery stores. It’s a win‐win‐win,” says Lois Federman, director of the state’s Something Special from WisconsinTM program.

Greg Lawless, Director of Agricultural Initiatives at Thrive, agrees. “More local food purchases made locally means more money circulating in our regional economy. We are thrilled Miller & Sons has stepped up to be our first local grocery store to show its strong support for local farmers by purchasing local foods directly from the source.”

Customers who purchase 10 or more Something Special from WisconsinTM local products at Miller & Sons during the Sept. 19 promotion will be eligible to win a $200 grocery gift certificate. Customers will also have the chance to sample local foods and personally meet the people who produce their food at Miller & Sons in Verona on Saturday, Sept. 19. The following companies will be demoing product:

* Blue Farm Organic Corn Chips, Janesville

* Blumer’s Soft Drinks, Monroe

* Bucky Badger products, L&L Foods, Verona

* Hawkwind LLC, Baraboo

* Johnny Velvet’s Spice Company, Madison

* Martha’s Hot Mustard, Lancaster

* Renaissance Farm, Spring Green

* Sassy Cow Creamery, Columbus

* Sugar River Dairy, Albany

* Tomato Mountain, Brooklyn

* Wisconsin Sausage Company, Stoughton

“We very much appreciate this opportunity to sample our product and meet our local customers,” says James Baerwolf, owner of Sassy Cow Creamery, which produces and distributes farmstead bottled milk and ice cream to stores across Wisconsin. “We’re hopeful more local grocery stores will join in the effort to offer and promote fresh, local foods produced right here in their backyard.”

For more information about the Grocers Buy Local program, visit http://www.somethingspecialwi.com or contact Lois Federman, 608‐224‐5124, or Greg Lawless, 608‐443‐1966.