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April 2014 – NC Growing Together has many partners, but perhaps none with as long a history of working on agriculture in North Carolina as the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. “NCDA&CS has had marketing programs to help farmers connect with marketing opportunities literally for decades,” says NCDA&CS’ Domestic Marketing Manager G.W. Stanley. These marketing programs include “Goodness Grows in NC” and “Got to be NC”.

For the last few years, the agency has also been working with the NC Cooperative Extension Service to schedule grower/buyer tours and meetings throughout the state to connect growers with potential buyers.

At NCGT partner Fort Bragg, NCDA&CS has been working to identify and promote local products in base commissaries for years. “We’ve developed shelf tags in all commissaries that indicate North Carolina-grown products, and signage hanging from the ceiling for [local] produce and products. And more pronounced signage is in development for produce,” explains NCDA&CS Marketing Specialist Tony Haywood.

The agency also participates in tent/sidewalk sales in base commissaries across North Carolina, Haywood says. “Commissaries set up tents and invite local producers so that customers can buy and sample local products,” including fresh NC produce when in season. “It’s a great way to draw attention to North Carolina products,” he says.

For more information on NCDA&CS’ local marketing programs, please see, or visit the Got to be NC Festival at the NC State Fairgrounds May 16-18.

This article originally appeared in the April 2014 NC Growing Together Newsletter.