Farmer's Market

Investors buying up the American dream

Corporate landlords like American Homes 4 Rent and Invitation Homes now own 40,000 single-family homes across North Carolina. In Mecklenburg County, they now account for one in four rental properties. That’s according to a new, months-long investigation by the Charlotte Observer and the Raleigh News & Observer. The series, “Security for Sale,” details how Wall […]

Pandemic highlights food chain workers’ precarious and essential positions

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, news headlines have called attention to both “essential workers” in the food system, such as farmworkers and grocery store employees, and extensive job losses for food system workers, primarily in retail and restaurants. There are requests for contributions to virtual tip jars and for customers to buy gift cards from small […]

Eating healthy in a food desert: Mecklenburg leaders seek new solutions

Mecklenburg County leaders are trying to find solutions for a worsening food crisis in the county’s poorest neighborhoods. Nearly 15 percent of the county’s population lives in what the U.S. Department of Agriculture calls food deserts — low-income communities where most residents don’t have access to a full-service grocery store or supermarket carrying nutritious food. […]

Why intermediaries are key to viable local food systems

Growing and buying local food is a business: complex, rich in heritage and culture, essential to health and well-being, consumed by all but understood by few. The Carolinas Urban-Rural Connection A special project from the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute Read the whole project here Introduction: Strengthening ties to revitalize communities A ‘crisis that’s brewing’: How […]

Farms and sprawl: Conservationists worry they’re losing the battle

About 45 minutes from Charlotte in neighboring Cabarrus County, the owners of 1,000-acre Porter Farms raise chickens and pigs on part of their land. The chickens are sold to Tysons Foods, and the pigs become sausage, pork chops and spare ribs for Smithfield Foods. Another part of the property is a cattle farm, and since […]

Farm-to-table: A trendy-but-tenuous urban-rural connection

It’s Monday, and farmer Isaac Oliver begins his week at the computer. Out on their 72-acre Harmony Ridge Farms in Tobaccoville, Isaac and dad Kevin raise ducks, harvest eggs and grow produce. At the start of each week, Isaac emails his list of available products to nearly 70 restaurants in Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Greensboro, Raleigh and […]

Volunteers for  Sandhills Farm-to-Table, subscription-based community supported agriculture (CSA) and online food store pack just-picked local produce into delivery boxes at Sandhills AGInnovation Center. Photo: Nancy Pierce

Connecting our region through local food systems

In any conversation about strengthening urban and rural connections, local food systems are usually suggested as the prime example. Images of farmers’ markets come to mind, where urban consumers have the opportunity not only to buy fresh fruits and vegetables but to get to know the growers and producers. The food system in reality is […]

Davon Goodwin is manager of Sandhills AGInnovation Center in Ellerbee, NC  Behind him is a hemp cover crop. Photo: Nancy Pierce

A ‘crisis that’s brewing’: How this program plans to help NC farmers

On weekday mornings, Davon Goodwin drops off his son at elementary school and heads to the Sandhills AGInnovation Center in Ellerbe to see what the day will bring. Some days he plants vegetables or fruit at the center, occasionally with the help of volunteers. When farmers show up needing a tractor, tillers or mobile refrigerated […]

Data, urban agriculture and opportunity zones: Lessons from Milwaukee

Sometimes it can feel like the world is drowning in data: Big data, data mining, data science, data analytics and other buzzwords have become so familiar as to be cliches. But the meeting last week of the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership, held in Milwaukee, was also full of reminders about the power of data to […]

Study: Charlotte region lags in food economy, farmers markets

The Charlotte region lags comparable areas in the robustness of its local food economy across multiple metrics, concludes the draft of a year-long study by the City of Charlotte. The report from consultants KarenKarp & Partners examines the state of farming in the metro region, the landscape of farmers markets in Charlotte, wholesale activity in […]