13 June 2013

Awareness Raising

From Deborah Pleva at Weinstein PR

Thanks to a $68,650 grant from the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) and other sponsors, Portland Farmers Market is spearheading the launch of an $110,000 advertising campaign to increase consumer awareness and patronage of farmers markets in the Willamette Valley region.

Last spring, the Portland Farmers Market team applied for the funds through the ODA’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, which is funded by USDA. (The USDA defines specialty crops as fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops.) Portland Farmers Market staff has been working on the campaign since the fall of 2012, when the grant was Banner300x2502b_zpsfa06e81b-1awarded.

While farmers markets are a primary direct sales outlet for many farmers of edible crops, only a small part of the population buys vegetables, fruit, nuts and herbs at farmers markets. Beginning this week, advertisements on radio, billboards and online will share messages from actual farmers who grow and sell food crops at farmers markets in the Willamette Valley. The messages encourage new shoppers to visit farmers markets, enhance loyalty in regular shoppers and promote the health, environmental and economic benefits of consuming locally grown farm-fresh food. Ads direct new and existing farmers market shoppers to find their nearest farmers market at the campaign website, InLocalWeLove.com.

“We want everyone throughout the Willamette Valley to visit their local farmers market, meet the farmers who grow their food, and support the Oregon economy by buying locally from these farmers,” said Trudy Toliver, Executive Director of Portland Farmers Market, who recently was presented the Alumni Award for Sustainability by Portland State University’s Institute for Sustainable Solutions.

Oregon Agriculture Department Director Katy Coba added, “A vast majority of Oregon agriculture is based on specialty crops, and the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program helps our farmers succeed by increasing the demand for the crops they grow. We hope these funds help celebrate our farmers, boost the sale of specialty crops in the Willamette Valley, and potentially increase the servings of Oregon fruits and vegetables consumed by market shoppers. As demand increases, our farmers can reliably diversify and expand their specialty crop production, attend more and larger markets, and ultimately prosper.”

To educate consumers about the benefits of purchasing fresh local food directly from the growers, the radio spots, outdoor billboards and online ads feature the voices and faces of actual Oregon farmers as stars of the campaign. Featured farmers include Jamie Kitzrow of Spring Hill Organic Farm in Albany, Sarah Hucka of Circle h Farm in Dexter, Tom and Patreece DeNoble of DeNoble Farms in Tillamook, Charlie, Vicki and Chris Hertel of Sun Gold Farm in Forest Grove, and David Landis and Anita Azarenko of La Mancha Ranch & Orchard in Sweet Home.

Partners in the Campaign
ILWL840x400_SunGoldBOGS_zps8e69bbec-1Fifty-one farmers markets, farms and related organizations signed on to support Portland Farmers Market with the grant proposal to the ODA in the ad campaign. Additionally, the following farmers markets contributed funds to the campaign: Portland Farmers Market ($25,000), Beaverton Farmers Market ($5000), Hollywood Farmers Market ($2,500), Hillsdale Farmers’ Market ($2,500), Lane County Farmers Market ($1000), Hillsboro Tuesday Marketplace ($600), Corvallis-Albany Farmers’ Market ($500), Montavilla Farmers Market ($500), Oregon City Farmers Market ($500), and Woodstock Farmers Market ($500).

Corporate partners have played a vital role in supporting the campaign. RunSpotRun, the ad agency that was hired to manage the creative and ad buy, discounted its fees. Additionally, Portland-based Bogs Footwear pledged $10,000 to the effort and outfitted the featured farmers in the brand’s 100 percent waterproof boots made from natural, durable rubber.

“Bogs has a long-standing relationship with Oregon’s farmers as we began making our boots to withstand the demanding conditions on the farm over a decade ago,” said Bill Combs, president and founder of Bogs Footwear. “We are constantly inspired by the passion and dedication local farmers bring to their jobs 24/7, 365 days a year and are proud to support this campaign to benefit Oregon’s farmers.”

Toliver added, “We are so thankful to the family of farmers markets and corporate partners that contributed to this effort. We believe this campaign can have a lasting impact on the region. As more residents shop at farmers markets, our region’s specialty crop farmers will become even more successful, thereby preserving farmland, encouraging future generations of farmers, fostering community engagement and bringing increased health and vitality to our residents.”