Barnstable, MA– Cape Cod Cooperative Extension’s Buy Fresh Buy Local Cape Cod (BFBLCC) program is pleased to announce that it has received $68,500 from the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) to generate consumer awareness and demand for locally grown food products while improving logistical access to these important food sources. The funds will be used to expand marketing of Cape Cod’s locally grown and harvested products to local and regional consumers year-round with a variety of advertising products and events, as well as promote the successful Healthy Incentives Program (HIP) and improve access to healthy food with educational pieces at local farmers’ markets stands and through hands-on resources.
“With these funds, Barnstable County’s Buy Fresh Buy Local Cape Cod program can continue to enhance a program that simultaneously increases access to healthy food for low-income residents and puts more money in the pockets of Cape Cod farmers,” says Rebecca Westgate, Coordinator of the program. “The positive impacts are three-fold: consumers will have more awareness and increased access to fresh food, our farmers gain new customers and make more money, and more food dollars stay in the local economy.”
The success of the marketing and educational programs is rooted in partnerships with local networks and organizations. Fund will be used to:
• Enhance distribution and outreach of marketing materials, including the printing of 20,000 Local Food Guides to be distributed on and off Cape, and the printing and distribution of branded paper grocery bags to be used for plastic-free packaging by farmers at stands and markets. Materials will highlight farmers and markets accepting SNAP and HIP.
• Expand awareness of the Cape Cod local seafood with a branded campaign in collaboration with the Cape Cod Fisherman’s Alliance.
• Free workshop series and production of a short cooking video highlighting affordable meals sourced from local producers and common food pantries items. Resources will be used and distributed through social service agencies and local food pantries.
• Winter Shop Local Collaboration, a partnership with LoveLiveLocal, to promote locally produced goods and foster networking of value-added producers and entrepreneurs through community events and advertising during Cape Cod’s off-season.
• Collaborate with the Southeastern Massachusetts Aquaculture Center (SEMAC), American Culinary Federation of Cape Cod (ACF CC) and UMass in hosting an April aquaculture product show to introduce shellfish to the local restaurant and food service establishments.
Buy Fresh Buy Local is a program of the Farmers Market Coalition, a national non-profit organization dedicated to strengthening farmers markets across the United States so that they can serve as community assets while providing real income opportunities for farmers. The local Cape Cod chapter was started in summer 2008 and is administered by Cape Cod Cooperative Extension. Funding and support is provided by Barnstable County, Cape Cod Cooperative Extension, and the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources.