Riley urges citizens to #039;Buy Alabama#039; food items first

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 4, 2005

Gov. Bob Riley urged shoppers on Monday to buy Alabama first, declaring October to be Alabama Food Products Month as a way to promote the purchase of food products produced within the state.

"There are dozen of products that are made in our state," said Riley, who once owned an independent grocery store in Ashland, in a written statement. "When shoppers buy local brands, they are keeping their neighbors employed and perpetuating our Alabama way of life."

John Wilson, owner of Super Foods and chairman of the Alabama Grocers Association, said Alabama Food Products Month is a project the AGA has been promoting since 2001.

"We started pushing this about four years ago in working with the governor's office," he said. "I'm glad he stepped to the plate and made this happen. It's a win-win situation for both the retail stores and food producers in the State of Alabama."

Wilson said the AGA's idea for a month focusing strictly on Alabama-made syrups, teas, sausages, potato chips, breads and other food items, came from reading an article in a trade magazine about North Carolina's efforts to promote its home-produced goods.

"It's primarily to help our Alabama-based food producers," he said. "I'm happy it finally came to fruition."

Riley praised Wilson, along with AGA president Jeff Smotherman and Ellie Taylor, executive vice-president, for recruiting many of the state's top producers and grocers to participate in the program.

Wilson said posters, bearing the slogan "Buy Alabama's Best", will be on display at over 1,000 grocery stores affiliated with the AGA. State brands will also bear the same message inserted near the product's price.

"We all grew up with many of these brands in our mothers' and grandmothers' kitchen," said Riley. "We should encourage our children and grandchildren to buy these brands that are a part of our Alabama heritage."

Riley said Alabama Public Television would support the campaign with special programs focusing on Alabama-based food products.

The promotion is connected to the Alabama Bureau of Tourism and Travel's Year of Alabama Food promotion. Tourism