App bridging gap between NC farmers and consumers gaining popularity amid COVID-19 pandemic

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Some farmer’s markets have been operating in the area, while others are opening this weekend, but business is being done differently and some local farmers are not seeing the traffic they’re used to. A new app is bridging the gap between farmers and consumers.

It’s called the Visit NC Farms app. Consumers can find local farms, products and items available right on their mobile devices.

The North Carolina Department of Agriculture launched it a year ago, but it has taken until now and a hit during the coronavirus, for local farmers to fight harder to get it up and running in our area.

The app that directly gives the consumer. complete power to choose their food.

“We’re in about 30 communities right now so about one-third of the state,” said Annie Baggett, marketing specialist at the North Carolina Department of Agriculture said.

In the midst of this pandemic the apps popularity has increased dramatically.

“For the month of March, we went to about 842% increase in user downloads,” Baggett said.

With some farmer’s markets closed and others restricted, coronavirus created a disconnect between people who want to shop for food locally and farmers.

“So keeping those dollars within in a local community is really important. This is an economic development tool,” she said.

On the 20 acres of land at Providence Farm, Joy Combs provides consumers with foods like chicken, goat milk pork and more.

“What we’ve noticed is that consumers have started seeking us out and trying to access the products we have, such as ground beef, or poultry products, chicken, sausage,” Combs said. “Something as easy as people trying to get something to cook for dinner.”

Combs said she uses Facebook and other forms of social media, but the Visit NC Farms app would save her time and help increase sales.

“If something happened at the farm that day, that requires immediate my attention all day long, and I don’t get on social media until 9:45 or 10 o’clock that night, I have missed a huge target audience,” Combs said.

So why is it so tough for growers to get the app started in the Piedmont Triad?

“There is a responsibility of each community that adopts this product to have a local administrator. And there is typically a lead administrator and then there are other folks that help administrate,” Baggett said.

Farmers have to convince city and county leaders the app is needed so they can find administrators to get it started in their counties.

Baggett said she is hoping people have enough interest in the app to take the idea to tourism or county officials in the area to help get it started.

There are two counties in the FOX8 viewing area, Yadkin and Wilkes, that have the app live and ready for consumers and farmers to use.

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