This week NASDA the National Association of State Directors of Agriculture is in Des Moines. Our own Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey is the president of the association and gets to play host. It's a great time to show off the diversity of production in the Hawkeye State. We hope you've had a fantastic time in Des Moines and Central Iowa. We know your schedule has been busy. On Saturday you get to experience an amazing Farmer's Market in Downtown Des Moines.
At one time the only place you could purchase "fresh from the farm" food was from from the old "road-side stand" that so many of us remember, and still populate in parts of the country. However, the trend of buying "fresh" and "local" led to the revival of the Farmer's Market (we have 8 in the Des Moines Metro) that takes thousands of shoppers out of the grocery stores and into the streets.
For some retail centers that was too much to lose and those companies who were in tune with the trend countered by increasing their inventory of "fresh/local" food. Now the marketing opportunity to highlight those farms and the people behind them becomes important.
Here's an example from our friends at HyVee. This sign talks about a farm Lopata Farm/Garden in Northeast Iowa. Last year these signs started popping up in select stores as, what we think, was a test to see if there was a following. This year the signs have multiplied as the retail centers attempt to connect with consumers and their local demand.
While it's been a trend for a very long time this effort helps connect the consumer with the grower and, as our nation becomes even further removed from agriculture, seems like a good step forward.
What examples of connecting urban with rural have you seen in your cities? We'd like to see!