Updated Wed, Jul 11, 2012 6:14 pm
Although it started in Athens, the concept of the 30 Mile Meal is now spreading to other states.
The project has been promoting local food within a 30-mile radius of Athens since 2010.
“The 30 Mile Meal not only creates an awareness of the food-producing community, it also impacts their earning potential,” said Natalie Woodroofe, 30 Mile Meal Project Manager. “There is an increasing trend towards people wanting to experience authentic and local cuisine, so the 30 Mile Meal is really an economic opportunity to meet that expectation of both visitors and locals.”
The organization is holding a conference this week to spread this marketing model to other communities that want to adapt it.
"We'll be able to provide both help and assessing what there is in their region that could be considered 30 Mile Meal assets, coming in and working with them and other community sparkplugs in their region to get them involved in launching their own 30 Mile Meal effort."
Some local restaurants like Della Zona, The Village Bakery and Casa Nueva operate very successfully by primarily sourcing their menus with local food, according to Woodroofe.
“Primarily what we are doing is getting the population that lives here... to become aware of the brand [the 30 Mile Meal],” Woodroofe said. “Having the local population doing that marketing for us both within the community and outside of the community as well as through the Visitor's Bureau, promoting to people who come to us looking for specific information about the region.”
People from Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, Arkansas and Virginia attended the conference at the Ohio University Inn, which ends Thursday.