Saturday, April 27, 2013
Buying locally grown and locally produced food is growing in popularity in Kansas and the state wants to help consumers continue that trend.
The Kansas Department of Agriculture unveiled its revamped and expanded From the Land of Kansas trademark program Saturday with three events, including one at Wichita Brewing and Pizzeria. The northwest Wichita restaurant and brewery is exactly the kind of business the state wants to help by promoting it as a Kansas-owned company with Kansas-made products.
"One night, we drank a lot of beer and that's how this started," Greg Gifford, a co-owner of Wichita Brewing and Pizzeria said.
The company has grown steadily since Gifford and business partner Jeremy Horn started home brewing in 2005. They are hoping being part of From the Land of Kansas will help that growth continue.
"Their stated goal is to do whatever they can to support and promote basically anything made and grown in Kansas," Horn said.
Kansas has had a trademark program for agricultural products for 25 years, but the Department of Agriculture had re-branded the program to make Kansas products easier for consumers to identify.
"Supporting local produce and local products is what people want to do," Kansas Governor Sam Brownback said. "A lot of times they just don't know how to do it. What we're trying to do here is show them, 'Here is an easy way to identify and support a local producer.'"
In addition to making Kansas products easier to recognize, From the Land of Kansas now has an easy-to-recognize spokesman, too: Green Bay Packers wide receiver and K-State alumnus Jordy Nelson. He is no stranger to promoting Kansas and what it has to offer, often bringing Green Bay teammates with him on visits home.
"Whenever I get the opportunity, I try to bring guys back a little bit every year and just kind of show them how I grew up," Nelson said.
Business owners taking part in the program hope it will help local businesses give each other a hand as well.
"We think it's going to be more of an organized format to do some of the stuff we've already tried to do working with local people and promoting each other," Horn said.
For example, Wichita Brewing has bought ingredients for some of its brews from other Kansas companies, including its new Keeper of the Grains ale. Half of the grain used in Keeper of the Grains is grown in Kansas.
"We're doing some local collaborations," Gifford said. "We do Beck's Farm, Cocoa Dolce. We collaborate with and we're trying to work with local buys around here."