Driven by consumer demand for local food and products, agriculture is growing in Connecticut. Since 2007, more than 1,060 new farms have been created, bringing the total farms in our state to 5,977 and putting Connecticut on top of all New England states in farm growth. This is great news for Connecticut’s economy and for consumers who want to buy locally produced agricultural products. However, it has also created an environment where an increasing number of food manufacturers, many located hundreds of miles outside the Connecticut region, are labeling their products as “local.”
The Farmer's Cow, a group of six family-owned dairy farms located in eastern Connecticut dedicated to educating consumers about farming, sustainability and ensuring farmland preservation, created a new REAL Local campaign to promote authentically local agriculture. The campaign is designed to help food buyers – both shoppers and retailers – identify what is REAL Local and understand the benefits to the economy, the environment and local communities.
“With more people wanting ‘local’, more and more manufacturers are labeling their products as local,” said Robin Chesmer, managing member of The Farmer’s Cow. “To us, that’s more like the answer to a riddle: When is ‘local’ not really local?”
Consumers want to know where their food is grown and how it’s produced. The REAL Local campaign provides a geographic reference with Connecticut at the center. This understanding promotes not just the member farms of The Farmer’s Cow but all REAL local farms in Connecticut.
“Local agriculture is the key to growing a sustainable future for Connecticut,” said Chesmer. “The long-term success in our region is dependent on all types and sizes of farms working together to maintain a vibrant agricultural infrastructure and economy.”
To promote awareness in the REAL Local campaign, The Farmer’s Cow has launched a new web site with rich content, vibrant photographs and videos. It highlights the story behind The Farmer’s Cow, how the member farms came together, the work of farming and the importance of farmland preservation. The site also includes information on all of The Farmer’s Cow REAL Local products, Farm Tours and Events, recipes and more.
“The seed was planted for The Farmer’s Cow when we began planning together for the future of our family farms,” said Chesmer. “We are dedicated to putting a face on agriculture in Connecticut. The members of The Farmer’s Cow are proud to be farmers and bring our Real Local dairy products to our Connecticut neighbors.”