Throughout the Peach State, a simple symbol represents a powerful economic force for generations of Georgians. The Georgia Grown logo stands for flourishing business opportunities and is recognized by consumers as a sign that products are fresher, better tasting and made the Georgia way.
Georgia Grown is a marketing and economic development program of the Georgia Department of Agriculture that launched in January 2012.
“Prior to this program, the Department of Agriculture was using an outdated logo for locally grown products that was not being utilized by the industry,” says Matthew Kulinski, program manager of Georgia Grown. “The old logo used too many colors and could not be easily adapted to different products and needs. Furthermore, there was no support for agribusinesses looking to market their products and grow their sales. Commissioner Gary W. Black realized that in order to really help Georgia’s agriculture industry, we needed a new logo and marketing program to go with it.”
Response to the logo has been incredible.
“It has been used by producers on everything from blueberries to beef jerky to telephone poles,” Kulinski says.
Jeannie Powell, chief operating officer of LEM Ag & Specialty Marketing, is a believer in the power of Georgia Grown. LEM Ag has promoted the Georgia Grown logo for over a decade.
Growing A Business
LEM Ag is not a traditional marketing company, and there is no retail shop. Instead, the company helps clients by offering what Powell describes as “full circle support from soil to consumer.”
“Generally, we don’t provide individual services,” Powell says. “Rather, we support our clients at whatever stage needed when they come to us. We then travel the road with them based on their needs. Our real services are our expertise, experience, resources and genuine partnerships.” Sometimes, the process begins by designing a logo, packaging or display pieces. Other clients need help developing a website, social media campaign or getting to market. Businesses frequently don’t realize how much help they need to succeed.
“Most often, businesses begin from a passion or special product that they create that seems unmatched,” Powell says. “We find that most have no idea how much hard work and persistence will be needed. Once you get a product to market, it is only the beginning.”
Displaying the Georgia Grown logo is part of LEM Ag’s business model and one Powell encourages clients to follow. Client meetings begin with two initiatives: to make sure they are members of Georgia Grown and to encourage them to align with its activities.
Powell says, “We take great pride in being among the first to join Georgia Grown.”
An important part of Georgia Grown is the annual symposium.
“At the symposium in Macon and Perry, we were able to network and make contacts for clients with supporting organizations,” Powell says. “The greatest benefit of the symposiums through the years is the work and diverse programs that the department puts together. These programs are not cookie-cutter, and truly deliver targeted topics to help Georgia Grown members succeed and grow.”
Kulinski says networking is an invaluable part of the symposiums.
“You would be amazed at the number of partnerships and business deals that have been made at our symposiums,” he says.
LEM Ag values the introductions the symposiums helped make, some of which turned into successful business relationships with innovative Georgia companies including Horse Creek Winery and Oliver Farm artisan oil company.