Ten Genuine Skagit Valley members got a combined prep talk and introduction to the program’s vision of making the Skagit Valley’s agricultural products as well known as Napa Valley wines at a rollout training Oct. 10.

That’s consultant Duane Knapp’s hope for the branding program the Port of Skagit is championing to increase recognition, value and sales of agricultural goods regionally, initially – and globally in the future.
The path to local agriculture’s future viability lies through a joint promise growers embrace in taking up the responsibility for the word genuine for their products and promising that is the essence of what they are selling, Knapp told the group at the meeting at the Port’s office.
Knapp, chairman of Anacortes-based BrandStrategy, Inc., has developed this branding strategy with the Port’s Innovation Partnership Zone over the last seven years. The program was introduced to farmers at February’s annual agricultural summit.
This Federal Certification Mark is “really about getting our Skagit Valley recognized for what it really is,” he said, and will enhance the Valley’s reputation. The mark indicates goods and services, or their providers, have met certain standards. It is registered with the federal government.
Knapp called this first meeting historic, likening it to when Napa vintners first attended a French international wine competition in the 1970s – and won. Napa is the idea of what you can do he said and that a certification brand provides worldwide visibility.
The Skagit Valley has that potential, he told the group that included a baker, brewer, malter and two cut flower farmers.
Knapp repeatedly stressed those taking up the brand are promising their customers quality and service. Genuine Skagit Valley members provide credibility, through distinct experiences, casting a halo over themselves and the valley, he said.
An attendee agreed, calling for the unity and uniformity she finds in Leavenworth and Winthrop.
Knapp said tourists having a “village experience” is the idea, saying “it really comes down to how we make people feel. If it is not about the experience, it’s about nothing.”
Knapp is available for trainings with a group or a business’ staff.
Marketing Coordinator Blake Vanfield organized the meeting. The goal is to double membership, to fifty by year’s end, she told the group. Vanfield’s phone: 503-753-1655.
The La Conner Weekly News is a member.