Sweet Grown Alabama announced it has been awarded a grant to track locally grown products purchased by five grocery store and distribution partners in the state. Awarded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in partnership with the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries (ADAI), this specialty crop block grant provides financial incentives to the stores in exchange for local procurement data.
“We are so grateful to local grocery stores and distributors who value Alabama grown products and already support so many of our local farmers,” said Sweet Grown Alabama Director Ellie Watson. “Through this grant program, we hope to make buying local products even easier for our grocery members. We know buying local takes a bit more money and effort, but the economic benefit it brings to our state outweighs the challenges.”
Grant partners include Greer’s Markets in South Alabama with 17 Alabama stores; Piggly Wiggly Birmingham Group with 13 stores; Renfroe’s Markets in Central Alabama with 6 stores; WM Grocery in East Alabama with four stores; and Mitchell Grocery Corporation in North Alabama with 30 corporate stores and nearly 200 distribution partners.
In addition to data tracking, these stores also joined the Sweet Grown Alabama branding program. Stores are listed in Sweet Grown Alabama’s online searchable database where consumers can find locally grown products. Members also receive the rights to use the Sweet Grown Alabama logo on point-of-sale materials and advertisements.
Once data collection is complete, information regarding in-demand local products will be shared with Alabama producers, which will help them make planting decisions and explore potential new markets for locally grown crops.
Sweet Grown Alabama’s goal is to motivate stores and distributors to boost the amount of locally grown products purchased, which in turn will make Alabama grown products more readily available for consumers.
To learn more about Sweet Grown Alabama and to find locally grown products near you, visit SweetGrownAlabama.org.