With its first year in the history books, the York County Buy Fresh Buy Local chapter is looking to keep its momentum going.

During the 2013 promotional kickoff and annual meeting, held Tuesday at the Adams Electric Cooperative on Trinity Road in West Manchester Township, chapter leaders highlighted the first year of the group's existence and showcased what's to come in the new year.

"York County Buy Fresh Buy Local is a fairly young organization," said Rob Wood, this year's chairman. "We're something of an ambitious group."

The chapter is one of 13 in the state.

Highlights: Formed last year, the York County Buy Fresh Buy Local chapter aims to connect consumers with area food growers and producers.

Across the nation there's been a consumer-driven trend to buy locally made products. One the easiest ways to do that is to purchase locally grown foods. Wood said.

"People want the connection to where their food comes from, and I think that's a big part of why we all are here," he said.

To show people what's out there, the chapter released a local food guide that lists participating farmers and producers. The 5,000 copies that were printed went fast, said Joe Anne [don: cq: ]Ward-Cottrell, special events chair.

While farming is an age-old vocation, the organization also turned to modern technology to spread the word.

Secretary Kim Gross said its website as well as social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, were used to connect with consumers.


Dru Peters, co-owner of Sunnyside Farms in Newberry Township, said the organization has helped with marketing since the farm is listed on the chapter's website.

"This has been a great addition to our arsenal to let people know we're here," she said. "We need an organization like this ... because we're mostly working."

To come: While officials said the first year was successful, there are ways to improve.

Jeremy Barnes of the York County BeeKeepers said he'd like to see more locally grown foods in chain grocery stores, making products readily available to a large consumer base.

Ward-Cottrell said that's something that's in works.

She added there could be increased collaboration with schools, healthcare providers and community organizations to entice the public to purchase local foods. The organization is also hoping to increase its number of partners, which currently stands at 50.

"We need to expand. We're going to build on some things that we've already done," Ward- Cottrell said. "Collaboration is one of the big ones this year."

Join up: The York County Buy Fresh Buy Local chapter is accepting partners and supporters for 2013.

Organizations, businesses and individuals can join under one of a number of categories: farmers, farm markets, businesses and supporters.

Yearly dues range from $25 to $50.

For more information, or to become a partner, go to buyfreshbuylocalyork.com.

- Reach Greg Gross at ggross@yorkdispatch.com.