AGDAY-Local food for local buyers
By JOLENE STEVENS
SIOUX CITY – On Tuesday (agricultural producers, associations and corporations, joined by universities and government entities nationwide, will be celebrating the 43rd Ag Day salute to the American farmer.
Sponsored by the Agriculture of America, numerous events and activities are planned across the country during National Ag Week from Sunday through March 19.
In some instances local and regional businesses said they thank farmers year-round crediting each with feeding an average of 144 people.
This number is a dramatic increase from the 25 fed in the 1960s and one reflecting the dwindling number of farmers versus the growing population. Innovative advancements in technology and management gives farmers this capability of meeting the challenge.
“The agricultural industry contributes greatly to our commitment to provide the best in fresh, including high quality meat and produce, to both our rural and urban customers,” said Mike Hammel, manager of Sioux City’s Morningside Fareway store.
“We work hard to support our local communities throughout our network of stores and agriculture’s role in helping us to provide quality food products that are both nutritious and fresh,” he said, as he watched shoppers in his store, one of three in Sioux City.
Hammel said he is seeing demand growing more than ever before for locally grown, healthy and organic products.
“We listen to our customers and help provide for their needs and requests,” Hammel said. “This includes an expanded health foods section and our full-service meat departments,” he said.
He said a key Fareway value is demonstrating integrity, fairness and honesty in store relationships with all involved in the grocery process.
“We work to foster great partnerships with our vendors and suppliers,” he said. “We want to be honest and educate our customers, and employees, about where their food is sourced.
“The connection made between suppliers and the end customer, further reinforces the farm to fork concept and the consumer demand for locally grown products.”
Periodic on-site visits by food producers give credence to this philosophy, Hammel said, evidenced by what he describes as an exponential growth in demand for fresh and natural food products.
“While this trend is at the forefront of the grocery shopping experience,” he said, “we also feel that our customers have historically valued fresh products and the quality (producers) offer (is) a tribute to Fareway’s success, and our commitment to the highest quality for our consumers.”
Hammel said that Fareway founder, Paul S. Beckwith, believed in “following the black dirt” when it came to determining where the next Fareway store would be built.
“He believed the company’s values were in perfect sync with those living in the country’s breadbasket – the people who were hard-working, who understood the value of a dollar and to whom family was everything,” he said. “”For us today, this accurately describes our producers, both then and now.
“We owe our success, not only to our dedicated employees, but to the producers who help provide the absolute best for our customers.”
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