Piedmont Grown, a farm advocacy group in North Carolina, has launched a label program to single out locally grown agricultural products. The North Carolina Piedmont, which includes 39 counties constituting about 35% of the state, is located between the coastal plain and the Appalachian Mountains and foothills. The region is part of a larger American Piedmont, which stretches from Alabama to New Jersey and contains moderately fertile soil.
While historically associated with cotton production, the North Carolina Piedmont has diversified in recent decades, producing a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. It is these locally grown crops that Piedmont Grown wants to highlight and market to local consumers. Members of the Piedmont Grown board hope that the labeling system will allow consumers to buy local products, which will help rebuild community farming across the region and will help stimulate the regional economy while simultaneously developing healthy eating habits throughout the community.
The Piedmont Grown program is part of a larger national trend to encourage local consumption and better eating habits. The USDA’s Know Your Farmer program represents a national attempt to connect local consumers with local producers, much like the Piedmont Grown program. In addition, the USDA, working with First Lady Michelle Obama, has made great efforts to improve the eating habits of American consumers. The effectiveness of these programs demonstrates the importance of local connections in the future of agricultural production in the United States.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer