A coalition of agricultural commodity groups and farmers from Maryland, Pennsylvania and Delaware have partnered to launch Mid-Atlantic Farmers Feed US. “The Mid-Atlantic Farmers Feed US program is a tremendous opportunity to introduce the region’s consumers to the hard-working men and women who raise healthy, nutritious and affordable food,” said Charlie Arnot, CEO of the Center for Food Integrity. “We need to show that even though our systems have changed and our use of technology has increased, the farmer’s commitment to do what’s right has never been stronger.”

Open to residents of those three states and Washington, D.C., the program will offer consumers the chance to win one of four “Free Groceries for a Year” sweepstakes prizes, while introducing them to 10 of the region’s farmers.

Featured farmers include:
• Carla Blackwell McKinney, mushroom farmer, Toughkenamon, Pennsylvania
• Brian Krieder, soybean farmer, Lebanon, Pennsylvania
• Doreen Shearer, hog farmer, Mount Joy, Pennsylvania
• Ted Esbenshade, egg farmer, Marietta, Pennsylvania
• Chip Councell, grain and vegetable farmer, Cordova, Maryland
• Mike Harrison, soybean farmer, Woodbine, Maryland
• Jordan Calloway, watermelon farmer, Mardela Springs, Maryland
• Jay Baxter, soybean farmer, Georgetown, Delaware
• Jesse Vanderwende, chicken farmer, Bridgeville, Delaware
• Burli Hopkins, dairy farmer, Lewes, Delaware

“Farmers Feed US” is based on consumer research conducted by the Center for Food Integrity (CFI) that proves that “shared values” are three to five times more important in building consumer trust than demonstrating competence. The program uses a variety of strategies to engage consumers with those who produce food, including featuring the region’s farmers in online video farm tours, earned and social media and television advertisements. Through this engagement, farmers will build public trust by demonstrating they share the same values as consumers.

Since July 2009, Farmers Feed US has been connecting farmers and consumers in Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, South Dakota, Minnesota and Illinois. During that time, those programs have accounted for more than 1.35 million consumer sweepstakes registrations, with each one introducing consumers to farmers from their state. Additionally, the program has built a consumer “opt-in” list of more than 85,000 consumers in participating states, who have requested on-going communication on farming and food, as well as social media platforms on Facebook and Twitter with more than 20,000 likers and followers. PD


—From Center for Food Integrity news release