Virginia Local Food

Lilly Otto picks strawberries at the Valley Home Farm in Wartrace, Tenn.

“Agriculture’s indelible footprint on our lives can be seen everywhere,” says Commissioner Julius Johnson of the Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA). Imagine a Nashville song without a guitar. Picture the joy a parent feels when a baby takes her first bite of solid food. Launched in October 2015, the TN Magic Moments campaign shows how agriculture is central to many of life’s “mAGic moments” just like these.

“None of these moments would be possible without agriculture,” Johnson says. “Take a wedding, for example. The food, cake, clothing, flowers, the drink to toast to and the hardwood floor to dance on – all of that is really brought to you by agriculture.”

TN Magic Moments raises awareness on how agriculture and natural resources impact daily life, while providing online tools for anyone to tell their ag stories.

“We wanted to find a new way to try to reach out to both non-agricultural and agricultural audiences,” says Lisa Stearns, vice chancellor of marketing and communications with the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture (UTIA). “The team quickly realized social media would become central to our efforts. When people post videos or pictures on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, they are sharing significant moments in their lives. Without realizing it, they are already telling the ag story.”

At the TN Magic Moments website, users can find speaking and social media tools, and instruction on how to tell others about why a magic moment “would have no magic without ag.” Visitors can also view moments and speeches others have shared and are encouraged to do the same.

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The campaign was spurred by the Governor’s Rural Challenge, which encouraged the UTIA, Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation and TDA to help develop a strategy to ensure the growth and prosperity of agriculture and forestry over the next decade.

“Our industry makes up 13 percent of our state’s economy, providing $74.8 billion in economic impact,” Johnson says.

The UTIA Advancement Board saw Tennessee’s ag world needed a way to tell its story and connect with those outside of the sector. The board then gained financial support to launch the campaign.

“Our goals are for this to be a collaborative effort throughout the state and to be able to tell the story in a way that’s relevant to today’s audience outside of agriculture,” Johnson says.


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