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Rural Development

Sweet Grown initiative connects Alabama farmers to local groceries

Sweet Grown Alabama has launched a new effort to help the state’s farmers sell more of their produce in local grocery stores.

The nonprofit foundation, which promotes Alabama’s farming industry, is working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries and five local grocers and distributors across the state.

Sweet Grown Alabama was awarded a $75,000 USDA specialty crop block grant to provide incentives to the stores and distributors to purchase more local products. In exchange, the stores and distributors are providing sales data that is being shared with farmers, who can use it to help make planting decisions and explore potential new markets.

“We are tracking data of what products are already being sold, and we also hope to capture what grocery stores are looking to purchase that our farmers aren’t growing right now,” said Ellie Watson, director of Sweet Grown Alabama.

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