Skip navigation


Foundations and Baselines poster

Highlights from Day 1 of SUMMIT, May 11th:

•    Participants are really energized by the 10% Local Campaign idea; really like that the idea is doable, not overwhelming or insurmountable.
•    Group moved right away into a discussion of strategy — how will we do this?
•    Focus needs to be on developing a core message that is adapted to different target audiences and markets, including for example inner city vs. suburban vs. rural.
•    Focus on seasonal availability of products in messaging.
•    NO reason we can’t get started NOW on this campaign; its time begin integrating this into local and regional programs!

original WIT meeting facilitator and SUMMIT breakout leader, winter 09:

  • Natalie Hampton, Extension Coordinator for Communications Services, NCSU; 919-513-3128,


  • Nancy Creamer


Arguments about why it’s important to buy local and sustainable products are becoming more sophisticated and complex, as well as more common across diverse populations and groups. Still, the majority of Americans think very little and not comprehensively about where their food comes from. However, many related arguments do resonate. From a meta-analysis conducted by the WK Kellogg Foundation in 2005, when asked: 69 percent of the US population cares about farmland preservation; 82 percent are concerned about loss of farms; 85 percent trust family farms more than industrial farms; 81 percent want food produced in the US; 68 percent would pay more for food grown in the US; 73 percent would prefer food grown locally or from their region. There are national efforts to provide resource materials to local groups about the benefits of buying local and how to conduct “buy local” campaigns, for example, see:


North Carolina Perspective

In some regions of North Carolina there is strong and growing consumer demand for fresh local food, however, there is not uniform demand or emphasis across the state. Many organizations, agencies, and NGOS have indicated a strong need for communication messages that reach out to different audiences. Cooperative Extension has a state sub-committee that is focusing on developing and disseminating local food consumer education materials. Many other organizations are developing such materials as well, but often separately and with no knowledge of other efforts. There is also the need for information about how to purchase local food. The Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP) has organized local food campaigns, and has a Local Food Guide available for the Western region (, and Carolina Farm Stewardship Association (CFSA) has a statewide resource on-line at: Making information widely available throughout North Carolina can help communities make the case for local foods–how to find and use them–without having to develop resources on their own. Facilitating information exchange and ways consumers can take action is key to engaging the public and strengthening this market-driven movement.


Issues Under Discussion

In order to grow widespread support for local food systems in North Carolina there needs to be informational outreach to various audiences and groups. Issues to discuss include, what is an effective unifying message? Who should be targeted? How should the issue be framed to have broad appeal to specific audiences? How do we prioritize and fund public relations or informational campaign needs and opportunities? Decision makers need to be informed about the rationale for building a local food economy, particularly its potential to have positive impacts in the state. All local food projects should be identified on the Web, and educational programs developed for decision and policy makers.

The initial WIT meeting produced the following ideas, to discussed, developed, and expanded further at the SUMMIT:


Game Changer

Develop a marketing campaign aimed at getting consumers to purchase 10 percent of their food from local sources. Key messages would include the benefits of eating local: economic (especially around “stopping money from leaking out of the state in this time of recession”), environmental, health, supporting local farmers and farmland preservation. “Low hanging fruit” target audience includes the “supposedly committed”– those who want to support local farmers and protect the environment, or support North Carolina’s economic development, but haven’t paid attention to where their food comes from, and haven’t extrapolated to the additional benefits. We recognize that the concept of the “100-mile diet” and other strategies for local eating may seem so unattainable to consumers that they are discouraged from even trying, and we hope the “10 percent local” removes that barrier. The 10 percent campaign can be discussed in a number of ways: How many meals equal 10 percent? Based on your food dollars, how much would you have to spend on local to reach 10 percent? Can you “grow your own” to add to your local food consumption? When you eat at restaurants, how often do you eat at places serving local foods? The main strategy for this marketing campaign would be a consumer-oriented Web site for a consortium of groups or “umbrella” group to assist all the state agencies, universities and NGOs working in the area of local foods. Benefits would come from all participating in the “10% campaign” as a way to support local ongoing programs. Benefits would come from cross branding and sharing resources. Funding would be developed through contributions of consortium groups, and also grant funding.


Local Action Ideas

Discussed were primarily types of information (many already available) that could be downloaded from the 10 percent campaign Web site and used at a local level. Including:

  • What is in season, and what is actually grown in NC?
  • What does 10 percent local look like? (see above) Photos of food/weekly groceries might help.
  • Where do I buy local? Markets, CSAs (NC now has more than 100!), co-op, restaurants, and other grocery stores offering local products
  • Recipes
  • Files/stickers that businesses and restaurants could use to indicate they “serve or sell local.” (There would have to be an application process to qualify.
  • Ideas that high school students could use to make “10 percent local” their graduation projects
  • A media plan for publicizing this effort.


  • Extension agents, faith-based communities, state and county agencies, Slow Food convivia, PTAs and other groups could participate in workshops to learn how to start a “10 percent local” campaign in their own communities.
  • A local foods video under development by Communication Services could be a great teaching tool for groups to use.


Notes from Communications WIT SUMMIT BREAKOUT Session:

Game Changer Idea: Develop a marketing campaign aimed at getting consumers to purchase 10% of their food from local sources

  • Shared message/marketing/doable
  • 10% has different meanings to different audiences/sources/markets
  • Define ‘target’… multi lingual
  • Engage food writers/media
  • Flexibility to achieve
  • 10% food calculator – publicly accessible
  • Community program ‘why should I care.’
  • Bring together resources to get to 10%
  • Web site- one stop shop
  • Health benefits

Table-Top Comments & Ideas

  • Make a case ‘what’s in it for me’ for consumers
  • Public opinion testing (polling, focus groups, etc.)
  • Coordination between agencies- Co-op Extension, FCS (eat less, move more), communities in schools, NCDA (Got To Be NC) local food committees, Carolina Farm Stewardship
  • NC Co-op Extension’s (Debbie Roos’) website “growing small farms” has a seasonal produce chart already online
  • Develop a sense of food shed and seasonal movement of produce i.e.; coastal blueberries, piedmont blueberries, mountain blueberries.
  • Local seasonal festivals/food demos based on local food farmers markets, teaching demos, ‘how to use.’
  • Branding- stickers or signs for businesses using local food bumper stickers
  • Who will take leadership
  • Local pride
  • Personal connection with grower ‘pride in place’
  • 1 for NC- introduce 1 product week
  • Food safety and ‘traceability’
  • Who’s in your food
  • Locavore MAP
  • Guerrilla Marketing (giveaways)

Training: Workshops to learn how to start a 10% local campaign in their own communities. Communication services local foods video could be a great teaching tool for groups to use

  • Can go ahead now to build a buzz on 10%
  • Develop the targeted marketing campaign level, focus groups, take 10% campaign to the next level
  • Post interviews on the internet on personal experience for consumer motivation
  • NCDA to host website
  • A ‘kit’ for message- Tidal Creek has it, National Coop of Grocers
  • Card for rebate on state taxes
  • Directed Social Marketing
  • Partnering/trade for design/web- design competition
  • Seasonal marketing- celebrate in season/NC
  • Have a way to point people in the right direction (2 things for breakfast)
  • Be able to download information
  • In our ‘game changer idea,’ take into account that food pantry recipients don’t ‘purchase,’ consider changing this word to ‘consume’
  • Distribute campaign easier amongst smaller co-ops
  • Promote an ‘eat local’ week or month
  • Identify different target groups and food groups
  • Educate why a local purchase is worth more
  • Make 10% relevant to lower income buyers
  • Can you grow some of your 10%
  • Partner with community gardens
  • Change of power ‘I am empowered, I can make a difference.’
  • Promote a competition- how to quantity
  • Low membership costs – get recipes and shopping ideas
  • Food journal – what you eat each day
  • 10% of diet – potato chips. Turn it into something healthy
  • School children learning fractions
  • Visual for multiplier effect
  • Story of one family
  • Be adventurous and trusting
  • Recipes and shopping list
  • ‘Eat local challenge’ through Co-ops
  • Festivals, local dinners, on location at a farm or someone’s home
  • Culinary schools as a resource
  • Demos at farmers markets
  • Health benefits – top 10 list on reasons to buy local
  • Use retail and restaurant chefs to get word out
  • PR on family food budget
  • Cross-link with other websites
  • Farmers market field trips and meal
  • Marketing without a budget
  • Regional differences, ethic groups, rural/urban- can be same message but needs to be adaptable
  • Consider barriers that go beyond financial
  • Important to get ‘sustainability’ in there in a concrete way
  • Picture of family at farmers market may not resonate with everyone
  • How to get different ideas of ‘local’
  • How to incorporate all the groups already doing local food
  • How to tally up (like a carbon footprint calculator) how they’re doing
  • Buy local i-phone app
  • Demonstrating how flexible the 10% can be. Could have testimonies from people. Anyone could identify with one of the people
  • Show ways you can cook with the local foods
  • Use resources already out there (Harvest Eating)
  • NCDA should host these sites
  • “Restorative” as a way to frame instead of “sustainable”
  • Think about another word for ‘local’
  • Confusing in regards to who does what
  • Streamline a website for consumers so it is a one stop shop
  • A website where you can leave feedback and interact and find local people in your community

Table-Top Comments & Ideas

  • Exchange food writers! They helped grow the ‘buy local/media/get local paper/media’
  • Fresh food movement to do a story
  • Run a contest for recipes – be sure to have a category for ‘heirloom recipes’ and from farmer families featuring whole and local foods
  • Churches have groups that could help train food fixing, and includes fellowship, ‘breaking bread together.’
  • Out of the ordinary products i.e. NC wines, interview people at a wine tasting
  • Need to get the message out in Spanish
  • List 2 things you can eat for breakfast – NC eggs, blueberries/strawberries, 2 things for lunch, etc.
  • School project – get kids to journal about the local foods they eat, what state it was from
  • Get on Lynn Resetto Gespers’ NPR show “The Splendid Table”
  • Engage cooperative extension, ‘canning’ food preservation clinics
  • The consistency of programming at FCS in Extension
  • Highlight ask in restaurants, stores, meat counters, the power of consumer pressure
  • Do a 10% local website with suggestions like the above, CEFS have a page on ‘how to start a 10% local movement’ in your community
  • Group identity building ‘I buy local’
  • Make it convenient
  • Celebrate in season
  • Rename ECA- recruit younger members to keep sustainable- need a corps of volunteers to teach cooking, preservation, in markets
  • Speakers bureau to educate on why local matters and can benefit the consumer
  • Webisodes on web site should highlight farmers, cooking celebrities, and local foods. Video cookbook
  • Reading lists & recipe posts that can help people eat, buy and cook w/ local foods
  • Hooking up with the community college system and continuing education
  • Making sure there is communication between all the other WIT’s and the communications WIT
  • Use social marketing in campaign