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Genuine Skagit Valley Program awarded $348,000 USDA grant

Jan 31st, 2020 | Category: Features, News

MOUNT VERNON – The Northwest Agricultural Business Center (NABC) was recently awarded $348,000 in federal funding for the Genuine Skagit Valley program. Through place-based marketing, Genuine Skagit Valley heightens consumer awareness  of, and connection to, local Skagit farms and farm products.

The  funding is from the USDA Farmers Market Promotion Program, a highly competitive national grant awarded to less than 10 percent of those who apply. In 2019, NABC was only one of two applicants in the entire state of Washington to receive this award. The funding provides for three years of staffing, producer training, program development and marketing for the Genuine Skagit Valley Certification Mark.

“Policy,  research, preservation and promotion work hand in hand in support of Skagit Valley’s farms, ranches and food producers,” said David Bauermeister, Executive Director of NABC. “Now the ‘promotion’ arm will have much-needed baseline funding to identify Skagit Valley as a premier, preferred and distinctive origin brand.”

The Genuine Skagit Valley strategy was developed by the Innovation Partnership Zone (IPZ). The IPZ, made up of public and private entities and local farmers, focuses on value-added agriculture with the goal of creating new jobs and a robust economy centered on the valley’s rich agricultural resources and heritage. NABC administers the marketing and membership for Genuine Skagit Valley on behalf of the IPZ.

Currently, 38 farms and businesses are participating in the Genuine Skagit Valley program. Founding supporters include Northwest Agriculture Business Center, Port of Skagit, WSU Food Systems Program, WSU Skagit County Extension, Skagit Valley, Sustainable Connections, WSU Bread Lab, Economic Development Alliance of Skagit County (EDASC), La Conner Weekly News, Western Washington Agricultural Association, City of Mount Vernon, BrandStrategy, Inc., Island Hospital, and Skagit’s Own Fish Market. For more information, visit www.genuineskagitvalley.com or follow the Facebook page.

Established in 2006, Northwest Agriculture Business Center provides Northwest Washington farmers with the skills and the resources required to profitably and efficiently supply their products to consumers, retailers, wholesalers, foodservice operators and food manufacturers. For more information, see www.agbizcenter.org.

–Genuine Skagit Valley

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