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July 01, 2004   Email to Friend 

Debra Davis
(334) 613-4686
July 01, 2004

Brian Hardin, director of the Federation's Horticulture Division, left, discusses the Buy Fresh, Buy Local campaign at the Government Street Market in Mobile on June 26 with Mobile County Farmers Federation President Calvin Freeland and State Horticulture Committee Member Art Sessions of Grand Bay. A press conference in Mobile was the last of five held across Alabama to announce the program, which is a partnership of the Alabama Farmers Federation and the Alabama Farmers Market Authority.
MOBILE - Ala. -- Farmers from throughout Alabama praised the new "Buy Fresh, Buy Local" campaign that kicked off last week at farmers markets across the state.

The media liked the campaign as well, with news coverage by TV stations and newspapers from Huntsville to Mobile that wrote or aired positive stories about the program.

"Buy Fresh, Buy Local" is a joint venture of the Alabama Farmers Federation and the Alabama Farmers Market Authority. Representatives from both organizations crisscrossed the state to promote the campaign.

"It was a busy week, but well worth the effort," said Don Wambles, administrator of the Alabama Farmers Market Authority. "The response has been just tremendous - even better than we hoped for. Producers told us they're already seeing results of increased sales since we began the campaign.

"Consumers have been very complimentary of the campaign, too, because they know more about how to find farmers with fresh fruits and vegetables for sale in their communities." A new website, BuyLocalAlabama.com, connects would-be buyers with farmers who operate roadside stands and u-pick operations and farmers markets.

Brian Hardin, director of the Alabama Farmers Federation Horticulture Division, said it was rewarding to see the positive response to the campaign.

"Helping farmers is what our organization is all about," Hardin said. "It was so rewarding to see how consumers were interacting with the farmers who actually grew the food they were buying at the markets. It is a win-win situation for everyone involved. We expect farmers to see dividends from this program for a long time."

As part of the launch for the "Buy Fresh, Buy Local" campaign, the Alabama Farmers Federation held Alfa Farmers Market Day, June 24 at the Alfa headquarters in Montgomery.

Most of Alfa's 1,000 home office employees purchased items from farmers who sold a variety of produce including peas, squash, corn, watermelons, tomatoes, honey and peaches.

To view a video news release about Buy Fresh, Buy Local, click on VIDEO on the Alfa Farmers' homepage at www.alfafarmers.org.

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