Washington commission backs locally grown initiative

07/17/2013 04:11:00 PM
Mike Hornick

Washington GrownThe Washington State Potato Commission has joined other commodity groups in a marketing campaign, Washington Grown, that’s planning to launch a television show in October.

The commission’s main partner in the locally grown initiative is the Washington Association of Wheat Growers.

“About a year ago we started trying to figure out what this campaign would look like,” said Ryan Holterhoff, director of marketing and industry affairs for the Moses Lake, Wash.-based commission.

“Both of our groups have been working closely together on crafting elements of this campaign. We’ve been able to make a lot of headway and see some exciting things starting to take place.”

The Washington Grown website, wagrown.com, provides a calendar of crops produced in the state, nutritional information, and a series of videos, among other material.

Video subjects include potato grower Jared Balcom of Pasco, Wash.-based Balcom and Moe. The potato industry has a $4.6 billion effect on Washington’s economy, according to the site.

“From the beginning we decided we wanted to make the message highly visual, through a combination of video elements people could click on, watch and share with their friends,” Holterhoff said. “We’re starting to tackle and get involved in the social networks as well.”

The commission has run small promotions in various markets trying to drive consumers to the website. Television is expected to give the campaign a higher profile. The show is titled Washington Grown.

“We’re putting together a television show that will highlight the stories of agriculture here in Washington with a food-centered theme,” Holterhoff said.

“It really will help people see the importance of agriculture and be able to see that whole farm-to-table story.”

Thirteen shows are planned and are expected to air on Northwest Cable News as well as the Washington Grown website.

The campaign logo does not appear on products, although that’s a long-term option.

“It’s not meant to be a buy-more-potatoes or buy-more-wheat thing,” Holterhoff said.

“That could be a byproduct of the campaign someday, if somebody wants to put that on their packaging. It’s really meant to be more of a connecting people back to the broader elements of agriculture and the benefits it brings to our state.”



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