Gorge Grown

Various marketing tactics for Gorge Grown Food Network to create consumer demand for local food.

Less than 2% of the food consumed in the Columbia Gorge is grown locally. The rest is shipped in from other parts of the country with the average carrot traveling 1500 miles before it reaches the store.There are many reasons why this is not a good thing but most people are yet unaware of the issues.

Gorge Grown is a non-profit organization working to build a regional food system with a goal of raising the amount of local food to 20% by 2020. Most of their efforts in the first 5 years have gone towards developing supply (organizing farmer’s markets, resource guides) and education (workshops on seed saving, gardening, canning, etc).

My focus is to help kick up the demand.

I started by researching and writing a ‘Why Local Food’ section on the Gorge Grown website that breaks down the benefits into ten sections including Supports Local Economy, Healthier, and Food Self-Reliance. Each section is supported by relevant studies as well as links to videos, books, movies and websites.

We also launched a Gorge Food Stories campaign to gather the experiences of local parents, farmers, chefs, gardeners and, really, anyone who eats food. Since food issues have changed so drastically in the past decades, there are a lot of turning points and drama out there to capture.

I am now in the process of conducting group brainstorms and developing interesting ways to get people to think about eating local whether it be a contest to create the tastiest local appetizer, a game of mono-crop tag, or great phrases to put on bumper stickers & t-shirts.

The best of these will be featured in the farmer’s markets this summer. Stay tuned.