NC Growing Together integrates Research, Academics, and Extension –bringing more North Carolina produce, meat, dairy, and seafood into retail and food service supply chains by:
- Researching and identifying best practices for cooperative production and aggregation of products from small and mid-sized producers to larger-scale distribution partners, including Southern Foods and MDI.
- Providing support and technical assistance to small and mid-sized producers to enable them to meet buyer requirements, including Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) certification of their farms and hands-on training and resources in Postharvest Handling.
- Providing training and capacity-building in local food system issues for Extension agents who work in the field, and for partners across the local food supply chain.
- Convening “Meet The Buyer” speed-networking opportunities to connect producers who are interested in selling into larger markets with retail and other buyers who are interested in purchasing from local producers – and supplying that information to other groups hosting similar events.
- Creating learning opportunities for students through local foods MBA Supply Chain and Marketing Research Teams and courses at NC State’s Poole College of Management Supply Chain Resource Cooperative.
- Sponsoring paid student apprenticeships at NCGT partner organizations, food hubs, food distributors, and retailers to support the next generation of business leaders committed to building local food systems.
- Researching consumer attitudes and shopping behaviors for local foods to develop more effective marketing materials and merchandising techniques for retail and institutional settings.