The Erie County Department of Environment & Planning Erie Grown initiative & Cultural Funding program win National Association of Counties (“NACo”) 2021 Achievement Awards. The Achievement Awards Program is a non-competitive awa rds program that seeks to recognize innovative county government programs. One outstanding program from each category is selected as the “Best of Category.” A total of six county programs and initiatives were honored; see the full press release here.
The Erie Grown Initiative won the 2021 Achievement Award Best in Category under Community & Economic Development! The Erie Grown (EG) website is an initiative of the Erie County Office of Agriculture to promote locally grown and in-season agricultural products and agritourism, and to improve the viability of farming. EG includes a site locator map, allowing users to view farm and farmrelated businesses in one comprehensive map, and a produce finder, allowing users to search by type of produce and locate growers to purchase from. Additionally, Erie County Office of Agriculture staff maintain a blog spotlighting various producers and agritourism events. A companion to EG is the Erie Grown Passport (EGP). The EGP further incentivizes local purchasing by encouraging participants to visit local producers for a chance to win agriculture-related prizes.
The overarching goal of EG and the EGP is to bolster the agricultural economy and local food system, and to demystify buying local by creating an intuitive platform that benefits both producers and consumers. To date, 145 producers (i.e.: farms, farmers markets, wineries, cideries) have enrolled in EG and the website has over 50,000 views. Of repeat website visitors that have taken a user survey, 75% have indicated that EG has helped them purchase goods from a local producer. Visit erie.gov/ErieGrown to find local produce and goods from local farmers!
The County Cultural Funding program was also honored with a 2021 Achievement Award under the Arts, Culture, and Historic Preservation category! The Erie County Cultural Funding Program provides general operating support grants to local non-profit arts and culture organizations that deliver services within Erie County. The grants are awarded annually from the county’s operating budget. Over 100 organizations were awarded nearly $7M in grants in 2021, despite significant budgetary concerns and lost revenue due to COVID-19. The grant program has been operating in various forms for over 40 years, and shows, this year more than any other, the county and leadership’s commitment to supporting the local arts sector and the various communities in our county. Visit erie.gov/Cultural to find out more about recipient organizations on our Presenting webpage, or to find out more about the funding process!