Sweet Grown Alabama: new statewide program benefits both farmers and business owners

DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) -- State Agriculture and Industry Commissioner Rick Pate knows the value of locally-grown products.

State Agriculture Commissioner Rick Pate holds a Satsuma grown in Dothan, AL. (Source: WTVY)

“We’ve talked to three or four grocery store chains and they said they’d buy everything we could get for them, they know that it will sell," Pate said.

Sweet Grown Alabama, a new program that identifies products grown in the state—with a seal of approval.

“People will buy more Alabama products whether it’s catfish, or peanuts, whatever it is if they know it’s local," said Pate.

The program officially launched in October, now Sweet Grown board members are hitting the road to achieve the next step.

“Going out to our farmers markets going out to the fruit and vegetable growers associations telling them to sign up," Pate explained, "because that’s the only way you’re ever going to use that Sweet Grown Alabama logo.”

Though there are a few rules to join: at least 50 percent of the product must be grown in the state.

“You see that Sweet Grown Alabama brand know that’s a product that was actually grown here, not just processed," Pate said.

Many in the area already see the benefits.

“For folks that deal into produce and the things that fit into that program, it’s certainly a plus for them," said farmer Johnny Lee.

As Sweet Grown builds its membership base, Pate is eager to see the changes it makes.

“We believe it’ll help our farmers and it’ll be healthier for our citizens and so we think it’s a win all the way across the board," said Pate.

If you are a farmer or business owner interested in joining Sweet Grown Alabama, you can do so at their website