A new logo should start popping up on products grown in Alabama through a new nonprofit effort started by the Alabama Department of Agriculture & Industries.
“Some of our members have already begun labeling products with things like honey or jams and jellies and even some of our meat products that don’t necessarily have a particular season,” Sweet Grown Alabama Director Ellie Watson said. “You may start to see some of those logos starting now in markets and stores.”
With the busy agricultural season kicking off this spring, Watson says the labels will really begin to sprout at retail outlets and farmers markets around the state.
“For our folks that are more on the produce side, spring and summer will be a heavy time for them with that fresh Alabama produce,” Watson said. “We really hope to start seeing more and more of that as the season progresses.”
Annual membership dues range from $100 to $4,800, based on the company’s annual gross sales. It was launched in the summer and began processing applications in September.
So far, 96 farmers or companies have signed on, including two in Mobile County and six in Baldwin County. Products must also meet certain criteria to carry the logo.
“Any product that is 50 percent composed of Sweet Grown Alabama ingredients can qualify to bear that logo,” Watson said. “We kind of did that intentionally. We wanted the consumer to look at that logo and know that product was grown here by their neighbors.”
One of those neighbors is Jennifer Pettis of Southern Farms Honey near Spanish Fort. Pettis started her company in 2019 and is a newcomer to the Sweet Grown Alabama program.
“By adding the Sweet Grown Alabama logo to our Southern Farms Honey displays, we hope that our new company will be easily recognized as an Alabama specialty,” Pettis said. “In addition, the Sweet Grown Alabama directory is a great way to inform the people of Alabama about our local honey products. We look forward to being a part of this marketing opportunity.”
Watson said she and the Sweet Grown Alabama board of directors are pleased with the turnout and progress of the campaign so far.
“We feel pretty good about that and where we are as far as progress goes with the program since we are so new in this state,” Watson said. “Right now, we’re just trying to build awareness of our brand and recruit really great members to join our programs, which are farmers who will use that locally grown logo on their products.”
She said the next step will be finishing out a website where people can look at a list of those signed up and growing or selling Alabama products. There is also a billboard and digital advertising campaign planned to carry the message statewide.
Program participants in Mobile County include AnA Farms and DK Farms. Besides Southern Farms Honey, Baldwin County participants also include BaL Seed, Coastal Alabama Organix, McKenzie Farms, Red Barn Produce, Coastal Alabama Farmers and Fishermen’s Market.
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