Local Foods

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 […]

Davon Goodwin, manager of Sandhills AGInnovation Center in Ellerbee, NC, inspects crops. Photo: Nancy Pierce

Innovative agriculture connects farmers to urban centers

The Sandhills AGInnovation Center works to nurture rural farmers in Richmond and Montgomery counties, while connecting them to urban markets.

Crockpot squirrel, beaver pot roast, catfish dip: Spotlighting wild food

Growing up, we had a lot of wild foods – things like persimmon pudding and blackberry pie – which I never realized might be considered wild foods. For the past few years I have been an avid hunter of deer, doves, squirrel and turkey, but this year I’ve expanded my interests into hunting rabbit, grouse […]

Long dreamed, an urban farm sprouts at Garinger High

Where there once were weeds, there is now a farm field, planted in potatoes, broccoli and greens. Where there once was a defunct greenhouse, there are now floating trays bursting with lettuce, fed by water circulating through a tank of tilapia. A year has passed since Friendship Gardens’ Henry Owen and his team of enthusiastic […]

Growing greens indoors to boost local foods, job skills

Just northeast of uptown Charlotte in the Tryon Hills neighborhood, in a previously abandoned and cluttered warehouse, is Lila’s Garden. There is graffiti on the entrance, but once you step inside, you are met with a garden that appears to be from the future. Rows of leafy greens and microgreens are bathed in purple light […]

A rich spot of earth

One could argue the local foods movement in America has its roots in the red clay of the Piedmont, on a hilltop not unlike the Uwharries near Charlottesville, Va. Nearly two centuries before Alice Waters opened her landmark restaurant Chez Panisse in Berkeley, Calif., Thomas Jefferson understood the allure of applying French culinary techniques to […]

Beer: Is it zoned out?

A group of local brewers and beer lovers is working with the city’s planning department to make Charlotte a more beer-friendly city in an unusual way: zoning amendments. The group held its second meeting at NoDa Brewing Co. last week, continuing a process craft brewers hope will adjust the city’s zoning ordinance, which currently restricts […]

Untangling urban growth boundaries

Containment policies, such as Urban Growth Boundaries (UGBs), are becoming more widespread as metro regions try to control sprawl and revitalize central cities. Mecklenburg County’s northeastern neighbor, Cabarrus County, has tried such an approach in hopes of preserving small town atmospheres and farmland. Disappearing farmland and mounting pressure from developers reached an apex in 2004. […]

Charlotte neighborhoods sow green vision

When Allen Nelson moved to Charlotte’s Commonwealth-Morningside neighborhood in 2007, he was drawn to the area’s bungalow-style homes, the graceful, mature shade trees and the tucked-away location so close to downtown. But in Nelson’s view, Commonwealth has some of the same problems of many Charlotte neighborhoods – overflowing trash bins, energy-leaking older homes, a scattershot […]

Growing the market for local foods

Two different organizations in the Charlotte region are using borrowed land and volunteer labor to get fresh, local food on the plates of people who need it most. Sow Much Good raises vegetables to sell well below market cost in low-income neighborhoods that are far from traditional farmers markets, while Friendship Gardens, started by Slow […]