HARRISBURG, Pa. — Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding today announced $300,000 in state matching funds awarded to 16 projects aimed at increasing consumer awareness of Pennsylvania agriculture products and market opportunities for agriculture producers.
“With so many appealing products produced in Pennsylvania, consumers don’t have to look far to find fresh, healthy choices close to home,” Redding said. “When aware of the options, consumers are more likely to choose local products. Promoting the story behind the food is a compelling way to attract consumers to Pennsylvania products. Once they make that first purchase, it is natural for them to become repeat customers.”
The Pennsylvania Agricultural Product Promotion, Education and Export Promotion Matching Grant is a program within the 2020-21 state budget. The Bureau of Market Development offers this grant to encourage and maximize the promotion of Pennsylvania-produced agricultural products.
Non-profit organizations based in 11 counties received matching funds for projects, many of which have a regional or statewide focus. The department prioritized projects aligned to COVID-19 recovery.
Funded projects by county of recipient are:
Adams County – Destination Gettysburg, $10,905: Launch the Adams County Crop Hop, A Farm and Market Experience. A digital pass will encourage visitors to experience working farms and farm markets and earn prizes along the way.
Allegheny County – Farm to Table Buy Local, $71,500: Strengthen and enhance western Pennsylvania’s local food system through a dedicated, year-round, public relations and marketing effort promoting buying local.
Berks, Lehigh and Northampton counties – Nurture Nature Center, $39,175: Create a new Buy Local Challenge developed within a solid gamification framework by the Nurture Nature Center’s Buy Fresh Buy Local-Greater Lehigh Valley program.
Centre County – Appalachian Food Works, $2,052: Launch a continuation of a consumer and producer awareness campaign, “What’s Local?” in central Pennsylvania.
Chester County – American Mushroom Institute, $40,000: The Mushroom Farmers of Pennsylvania’s “Eating Better to Build Back Better” program will focus on mushroom culinary properties and health benefits, including naturally occurring vitamin D. The program will promote mushroom contributions to soil health and carbon sequestration.
Cumberland County – Farmers on the Square, $1,620: Extend reach beyond the city of Carlisle through a grassroots marketing campaign including posters, flyers, postcard-sized handouts, yard signs, flags, magnetic car decals, bumper stickers and window decals.
Cumberland County – Pennsylvania Friends of Agriculture Foundation $1,159: Provide outreach and education to military veteran farmers to assist them in marketing and diversifying funding streams, while improving access to fresh, locally grown products for lower income consumers.
Cumberland County – Pennsylvania Friends of Agriculture Foundation, $22,640: Develop educational programs providing agriculture focused education to elementary and middle school students in unique ways. The goal is to educate more children, educators and communities to help people understand where their food and fiber originates.
Dauphin County – Keystone Wood Products Association, $6,000: Develop a social media plan focusing on the benefits of actively managed working forests, and the positive economic, social and environmental aspects of hardwood production and jobs created by the industry.
Dauphin County – Pennsylvania Wine Association, $1,500: To support the Pennsylvania Wine Association Conference and associated wine competition, bringing industry leaders together during a time that requires increased collaboration. The conference and competition aid in consumer and influencer marketing of Pennsylvania wineries and wines.
Dauphin County – Pennsylvania Forest Products Association, $18,000: For a nationwide hardwood promotion campaign to educate consumers on the beauty, durability and lifetime value of Pennsylvania-specific hardwood products. The campaign will foster purchasing decisions that ultimately improve economic and environmental outcomes, strengthening our forest products communities from rural areas where the supply chain originates to urban and suburban manufacturing centers where most of the industry’s family-sustaining jobs are located.
Dauphin County – Pennsylvania Cooperative Potato Growers Association, $60,000: Continue promoting Pennsylvania’s potato industry to help growers recover from the pandemic. Funds will offset the cost of advertising, supplies and equipment to attract interest in Pennsylvania grown potatoes.
Dauphin County – Pennsylvania Friends of Farm Show Foundation, $9,547: Fulfill educational needs associated with the annual Pennsylvania Farm Show.
Dauphin County – Pennsylvania Vegetable Marketing and Research Program, $8,900: Produce new roadside signs, crop stickers used on the roadside signs, styrene price cards, clip-on price cards and price stickers to promote Pennsylvania vegetables.
McKean County, Allegheny Hardwood Utilization Group, $5,000: Produce PA Hardwood Species Sample Kits. Much like paint swatches, these kits will allow recipients to explore, in tactile fashion, the various colors, grain patterns, hardness and other qualities that are unique to each hardwood species, and for which there is no substitute. These samples will showcase the exquisite quality of Pennsylvania wood products.
Mercer County – Helping Hands Ministries, Inc., $2,000: Address health and nutrition concerns by increasing access to healthier food options from local Pennsylvania farmers to individuals who live in impoverished neighborhoods and food deserts.
Learn more about the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s efforts to promote a thriving, resilient agriculture industry at agriculture.pa.gov.
–Shannon Powers, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture