28 Aug, 2015

Protecting The Land That Feeds Us

By |2020-09-09T10:47:24+00:00August 28, 2015|News|0 Comments

Are you savoring the farm to table movement? Love farmer’s markets? Think about this: While you are shopping and dining, North Carolina is losing more than 100,000 acres of farmland a year to development.

It is rare that reading an interview inspires me to schedule a meeting. Like you, I already have enough of those on my calendar. But when Zack Wyatt was interviewed on WBTV about his vision for Carolina Farm Trust on a Friday morning early in July, I couldn’t resist. And as it turns out he wanted to talk to me, too.

Recently I’ve been working on a plan for a Food Innovation District to catalyze the development of food businesses for many reasons, but one of them is to increase the demand for local food in the Piedmont region. We consume more than a half-billion dollars in produce alone that we don’t grow here. But our farmers will not be able to increase their capacity without farmland.

And in addition to increasing capacity for existing farmers, we need new ones who use sustainable practices. But the cost of land is a barrier to entry. And year-to-year leases on land involve a great deal of risk. Who wants to invest in amendments to improve soil quality when your lease might not be renewed?

Zack wants to bridge that gap. Through Carolina Farm Trust his intention is to purchase farmland and lease it at cost to farmers who have a business plan to grow produce sustainably and raise pastured livestock. He’s eager to start now, which I can entirely appreciate. Because for every day that passes, more acreage that has been dedicated to food production is being purchased and developed into housing subdivisions. Zach grew […]

24 Aug, 2015

Working for Change

By |2020-09-09T10:47:24+00:00August 24, 2015|News|0 Comments

Even though it seems like everyone’s lamenting pumpkin ale on the shelves and tweeting #StillSummer, fall is undeniably in the air. That means a lot of things: back-to-school and football1 and maybe even the urge to shift from the lazy days of me-centric beach time to a something a little more altruistic.

Volunteer opportunities don’t necessarily ebb and flow with the calendar, since worthwhile organizations could always use the help, but the 9/11 Day of Service is a big one for the Triangle. Coordinated by Activate Good, the initiative is in its fourth year and aims to bring together 2000 citizens in volunteerism and just plain kindness for more than 40 local causes.

As I was writing this story it occurred to me that volunteering can seem like the time equivalent of eating your veggies. Something that you do because you have to meet a class requirement, or community service quota, or some other mandatory reason. Yeah, I may be a veggie geek2 but I can honestly say that the times I’ve given my time away are some of my fondest, moving memories of my four years in Raleigh: cleaning out a chicken coop, gathering eggs and picking okra for the Jamie Kirk Hahn Foundation at Interfaith Food Shuttle; scraping black paint off windows to let the light pour in; gathering food donations for the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina; writing letters to overseas soldiers under a giant American flag.

If you’re ready for that feel-good feeling, all are welcome to join in on 9/11, whether as an individual or group. You can choose to beautify a school, package food for those in need or put your creative talents to good use. Daytime service projects — like “Painting Some Sunshine” […]

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