The change of seasons from summer to fall is one that many of us at Bellmont Partners love – from the crisp mornings and the colorful leaves, to the trips to the orchard and the bustle of harvest. This year, we also welcomed autumn with two projects that highlighted the beauty and the importance of this season in Minnesota.
From August through October, we had the opportunity to partner with people who – like us – have a strong passion for agriculture and education, working to share their stories across the state. We enjoyed working on these two projects and learned so much along the way!
The first project, promoting early season apples, was one we were thrilled to dive back into, after also working with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s Minnesota Grown team in 2019. These apples, such as First Kiss, SweeTango® and Zestar!®, offer incredible taste and are available about one month prior to other local varieties like Honeycrisp, but many shoppers don’t realize they’re an excellent early option. To help spread the word that fresh, local apples were available for the first time since last fall, we developed and implemented an integrated communications campaign. This included media relations, both in the Twin Cities metro and greater Minnesota, along with an influencer program that featured orchard visits and brought visibility of early season apples to Instagram, TikTok and more. While we were already big fans of apples, it’s safe to say we’re even more so now and have enjoyed getting to know some of our state’s growers along the way.
The other project we had the opportunity to work on this fall was Minnesota Farm to School Month, which brought us into the fold again with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture along with the Minnesota Department of Education. Through this initiative, we worked to raise awareness of Farm to School Month and how Farm to School programs – big and small – are helping provide nutritious, local food to kids while also benefiting farmers and communities. Another fun component of this project was developing an infographic that will help reach Farm to School stakeholders in a new, visually engaging way. From showcasing the Great Lakes Apple Crunch to school garden programs to innovative partnerships, stories from across the North Star State were front and center throughout the month to bring attention to the school nutrition professional and producers who are working tirelessly to get fresh, healthy food to children, even during the pandemic.
For many of us who grew up in agriculture-based communities, both of these projects helped us get back to our roots, celebrating ag and education and sharing stories that make a lasting impact. A big thank you to the entire Minnesota Grown and Farm to School teams for these opportunities – we’re grateful for the chance to partner with these organizations and people who do incredible things for our state’s ag communities and all of Minnesota!