Alabamians who want to support local farmers and buy locally grown products can now easily find what they’re looking for thanks to the launch of Sweet Grown Alabama’s online searchable database.
That sweet success was celebrated today at the Capitol with a special farmers market and Gov. Kay Ivey issuing a proclamation that declared July 22, 2020, Sweet Grown Alabama Day.
“Alabama’s farmers have a significant impact on our great state with over 580,000 Alabamians working in agriculture and related industries,” said Gov. Kay Ivey. “Connecting with local farmers through Sweet Grown Alabama is a great opportunity to show your support for our neighbors and enjoy the wonderful products grown right here at home!”
Originally launched in September 2019, Sweet Grown Alabama’s online membership database at SweetGrownAlabama.org has grown to include over 150 farmers and businesses that sell Alabama-grown products directly to consumers.
Nearly 30 vendors and Sweet Grown Alabama members joined the celebration with a farmers market on Bainbridge Street. They sold produce, meat, honey, pecans and other locally produced items.
“More and more consumers are beginning to care about where their food and other products are grown,” said Kyle Morris of Mulberry Bend Cattle Farm in Hanceville. “It’s great to have a program like Sweet Grown Alabama that helps farmers serve the needs of consumers and allows us to connect with the people purchasing and enjoying our products.”
Contributing more than $70 billion annually, agriculture is a key employer and economic driver in Alabama. However, Sweet Grown Alabama leaders said it had been difficult for consumers to connect directly with local farmers, until now.
“A program like Sweet Grown Alabama has been a missing link in our state’s agriculture industry for many years,” said Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries and Sweet Grown Alabama Board Member Rick Pate. “Consumers now have a tool to search for local farms in their area through the online database at SweetGrownAlabama.org, and we guarantee you’ll love the high quality, local products you buy from Alabama farms. Buying locally grown is better for the environment, better for Alabama’s economy and just plain better quality for consumers.”
Sweet Grown Alabama is a non-profit program, created as a collaborative effort between agricultural groups in the state. Membership is open to farmers as well as markets, restaurants and grocery stores. Those interested in joining can apply for membership at SweetGrownAlabama.org.
Sweet Grown Alabama Director Ellie Watson said the response to the program from the agricultural community has been overwhelmingly positive.
“Not only have we grown our program from zero members to over 150 in less than a year, but we have received generous support from industry groups,” Watson said. “The contributions of our seven founding member partners will ensure Sweet Grown Alabama is able to serve the state for years to come, and we are incredibly grateful for their support of Alabama farmers.”
Program founding members include the Alabama Association of RC&D Councils, Alabama Ag Credit, the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries, the Alabama Farmers Cooperative, the Alabama Farmers Federation, First South Farm Credit and the Poarch Band of Creek Indians.
Vendors participating in the Sweet Grown Alabama Day Farmers Market included:
- Alabama Ag Credit, Montgomery
- Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries, Montgomery
- Alabama Farm Credit, Cullman
- Alabama Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association, Montgomery
- Alabama Peanut Producers Association, Dothan
- Backyard Orchards, Eufaula
- Boozer Farms, Thorsby
- Coastal Alabama Organix, Fairhope
- Eastaboga Bee Company, Lincoln
- East Lake Farmers Market, Birmingham
- Eng Land Honey, Pike Road
- EPIC Family Farm, Tallassee
- First South Farm Credit, Opelika
- George’s River Market and Butchery, Wetumpka
- Green Acres Organic Pharms, Florence
- Hornsby Farms, Auburn
- JKW Cattle Company, Lineville
- Just Good Flavor Company, Hoover
- MGM Greens, Montgomery
- Mulberry Bend Cattle Company, Hanceville
- Plant’n Roots Farm, Brilliant
- Prattville Honey Farm, Prattville
- Priester’s Pecans, Fort Deposit
- Samson Extracts, Geneva
- Sweetgum Ridge Apiaries, Lowndesboro
- The Alabama Pecan Company, Samson
- Working Cows Dairy, Slocomb
To learn more and find locally grown products in your area, visit SweetGrownAlabama.org.