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I love agriculture! Every
thing single thing about it gets me spun up and eager to engage. To do something. Talk, learn, educate, blog, tweet, whatever.
I am fortunate to be involved in a startup that takes me to places through farm country. During one of my recent trips out to Smithville, OH, I had the pleasure of meeting with a then prospect, now a new customer! On the way back home, I thought I would stop by and meet with my friend Brian Gwin who works for the Wayne County Economic Development Council with a focus on agriculture. Brian is a wonderful individual with a family farm in the area. He understands agriculture and economic development. I am glad to know Brian and look forward to working on projects together.
Brian knows I have a strong interest in local food economies. I believe that efforts promoting this are good for farmers and good for the community. As such, he took me over to one such group that was established in 2009, Local Roots Market & Café.
The marketing manager, Jessica Eikleberry was gracious enough to show me around the place and talk to me about the organization, its goals, and ideas on continuing their efforts to strengthen the Wooster area economy and surrounding communities.
Let me just say now, Local Roots gets local foods. I can relate to their mission:
"To establish a year-round market place for the purpose of connecting consumers and producers of locally grown foods and other agricultural products. Our goals are to encourage healthy eating, expand local economic development, promote community involvement, and sustainable living."I like their approach for producer members in that they set it up to where the producer puts together their own profiles, develop their own prices, and gain access to the marketing services of Local Roots. It is all inclusive. As a grower you can share your story to connect with the consumer.
Another great perk is that each item sold has information the consumer can use to contact the grower enabling an immediate connection to the person growing their food. Awesome!
Why Local Roots gets local foods
During my visit to the store, I noticed all the other non-food items that were in the store. Now, this may seem counter intuitive, but to me Local Roots understands that agriculture is multi-faceted. We in the business of agriculture also produce fiber and other products that require a producer as well. And in their market you will see things like bee based lip balm (go bees – we love you!!!), wool, yarn, and soap products, to name a few.
It is the essence of building a strong agriculture based local economy. Providing access to fresh, local, healthy food as well as the other myriad of products founded in agriculture. Awesome isn’t it?
So, if you are interested in local foods and local economic development, Local Roots is a shining example. Go visit their website and check out the list of participating producers and other great resources!
My thanks again to Jessica for her time and willingness to share the Local Roots story. I wish her and the volunteers who have made Local Roots a success continued prosperity.
Nate J. Taylor
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