As a Georgian, even if agriculture is not in your immediate family lineage, it is still a part of your being. Our homeland was named in honor of King George, but have you ever considered the root meaning? In Greek, George or the feminine form “Georgia,” means “a farmer.” Agriculture is our heritage, our current $77 billion leading industry, and our future as well.
“Georgia Grown,” our agricultural economic development program for food, fiber, forestry and agricultural products, has swept the nation two years after its reintroduction. Farmers, processors, manufacturers, and agricultural service-related industries connect with our department and obtain an annual license to use the trademarked Georgia Grown brand in their enterprises. License fees are reinvested in promotional activities and managed by the independent Georgia Grown Commission. More than 400 license holders feature the brand on product labels and marketing materials.
In collaboration with the Georgia Restaurant Association, we are branding Georgia Grown menus and dining establishments from the coast to the nation’s capital. We are currently working with the third class of chefs affiliated with our Georgia Grown Executive Chef Program. These “AGvocates” work with individual farmers and commodity groups to bring our products to market, as well as educate consumers through our “Pick, Cook, Keep” series on Georgia Public Television.
In April, we launched a student Georgia Grown membership for young entrepreneurs, 4-H and FFA members.
We are reaching schools through our “Georgia Grown Test Kitchen” and “Feed My School Georgia Grown” activities. The objective: Improve school nutrition and expanding markets for Georgia farmers. Moreover, a Georgia Grown kiosk opened this spring at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.
With our latest partnership, area Kroger stores will now have a section that only sells Georgia grown items. I’m particularly excited about Kroger because of the link their membership creates between producers, manufacturers and retailers that provides access to Georgia products. This new partnership is in addition to an existing relationship with Bi-Lo and Harvey’s Supermarkets throughout South Georgia.
The Georgia Grown program has been around for a decade. Today we have better defined its purpose. The goal is to improve the profitability of Georgia’s agricultural sector by building brand integrity. Recognition of the quality and reliability of Georgia-based products and services continues to grow in domestic and international markets. Help us keep Georgia Growing.
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