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Urban Farm – a concept that will be celebrated at a June 7 dinner – is designed to nourish, educate and inspire a whole community
Charlotte, N.C., (May 3, 2018) – Aldersgate and Carolina Farm Trust are collaborating on a major agricultural and cultural initiative that will continue the Aldersgate-led transformation of Charlotte’s east side. The nonprofit, 6.7-acre Urban Farm at Aldersgate will serve as a food source – and learning lab – for the eastside community and beyond. Both EBT and SNAP will be accepted, ensuring the working (and year-round) farm is truly a resource for all. Plans call for the first seeds to be planted this spring and for the farm to be operational by fall.
Aldersgate’s mission goes beyond serving the elders who call the 231-acre campus home. It includes engaging the community’s neighbors.
“Part of our mission at Aldersgate is taking care of our neighbors,” said Erin Barbee, Aldersgate’s director of mission advancement. “Access is to fresh, healthy food should be a given for everyone in our community. But in some parts of the east side, people are living in a food desert. That’s not acceptable to us. Eating fresh, local food should not be a privilege that comes with social standing. It’s a human right that has measurable health and economic benefits.”
To introduce the concept, Carolina Farm Trust will host “A Night at the Museum” on Thursday, June 7 from 6 to 9 p.m. The “movable feast” features a menu inspired by exhibits at the Charlotte Museum of History, the site of the dinner. Chefs from Heirloom, The Yolk, Project 658, Yafo, 5 Church and Fern will each create one course. Locally sourced libations come from Dover Vineyard, Shelton Vineyard and Resident Culture craft beer. Mixologist Bob Peters […]
Any given farmers market parking lot contains a familiar spattering of bumper stickers: “Buy Local.” “Support Your Local Farmer.” And for Mike Smith of Big Oak Farm in Cabarrus County, none of them are the answer.
“Demand has outpaced supply for at least 10 years now, ever since we started doing farmers markets,” he says. Smith, whose family has been farming on the same land for over 150 years, has the market to sustainably expand his operation, with locavores and farm-to-table restaurants clamoring for his pastured beef and pork.
But rapid development and resulting rising land prices stand in his way– and threaten the area’s local food supply.
“Once you start putting down concrete,” he says, “it’s never going to go back to farmland again.”
Zack Wyatt, a Northern Virginia farm kid turned Charlotte transplant, began noticing the Carolinas’ disappearing farmland after reading local blogger Lisa Leake’s book “100 Days of Real Food,” which details her family’s conversion to locally grown whole foods. He remembers the farm-rich region of his youth getting developed “in a matter of a decade,” and sees areas like Ballantyne and Huntersville heading briskly in the same direction. So in the short space of a few months he founded the Carolina Farm Trust, rounded up a dizzying list of local partners and organized the Carolina Jubilee.
The two-day music festival at VanHoy Farms in Harmony, NC, Oct. 16 and 17 aims to raise the funds to purchase 40 acres of farmland for Big Oak Farm to lease back at an affordable rate– bringing more local food to the tables that are waiting for it, and saving more pasture from concrete.
It’s a lofty goal and Wyatt knows it– so does Smith, who hung up on Wyatt […]
“Tucked into the heart of the Carolinas at VanHoy Farms in Harmony, NC is this year’s Carolina Jubilee festival, September 29 and 30. The third annual festival is the project of the Carolina Farm Trust, an organization whose mission is to improve the environmental sustainability of farming communities of the Carolinas. There will be 18 bands over the two days, along with food, drinks, and various other activities all from right in the region.
To truly understand the Carolina Jubilee, it is important to consider the initiatives of the Carolina Farm Trust which began just over two years ago in May of 2015. “I just started talking to the farmers and asking ‘What do you need? Is it a tractor; is it land?’ and then I began making all of these commitments that I had no idea how I would follow through on. So I needed a vehicle for that and that’s when the paperwork got started. I just backed into it,” said founder Zack Wyatt.”
Founder of Carolina Farm Trust and Carolina Jubilee, Zack Wyatt
The objectives of the Carolina Farm Trust are focused on the farmer. “At the end of the day it is getting the farmers what they need to reach their goals. Not mine or anyone else’s,” said Wyatt. “We are strategically investing in a community that we need to survive. This is not charity. There will be a point in time where a global food system will not work and if we’re not supporting our regional food system and the regions around us then we’re going to feel the repercussions of that. I want people to know that they control our destiny.”
In the beginning, not only was the Farm Trust focused on creating sustainable success for regional farms but […]
The Carolina Farm Trust helps farmers acquire equipment, lease or purchase land, protect farmland from development, and through creative marketing campaigns.
As the state’s leading dairy producer, Iredell County is an ideal location for the Trust’s signature fundraiser, the Carolina Jubilee.
The Jubilee will feature live local music, farm-fresh cuisine, local breweries and more. The event is set for Sept. 29-30 at VanHoy Farms in nearby Harmony.
Zack Wyatt, Carolina Farm Trust and Jubilee founder, said that the organization was looking for an agricultural center that could bridge the divide between rural and urban life.
“There is (no place) better than North Iredell County,” he said. “(The Jubilee) brings the region together to celebrate Carolina agriculture and put a spotlight on Carolina businesses that utilize Carolina farms as part of their supply chains.”
Wyatt is thankful for the consistency and support of the Jubilee’s numerous vendors, including small business and agriculture-based vendors, vineyards, and breweries such as Primal Brewery and Fullsteam Brewery.
Heirloom Restaurant, a farm-to-table restaurant that features local vegetables, fruit, seafood, meat and beverages, will provide food for the event, featuring Chef Barlowe, along with Chef Harrison Littell, Chef Regan Stachler, and Chef Njathi Kabui. The food theme will revolve around an open fire.
A wide variety of performers will play at the Jubilee, including Friday-night’s headliner, Susto. and Saturday-night headliner Acoustic Syndicate. Other performers include Ellis Dyson and the Shambles, Shiloh Hill and the Chicken Coop Willaye Trio.
The Jubilee also will feature a 5K, 10K and Kids Fun Run, sponsored by Iredell Health System. Races are held at 9 a.m. on Saturday.
Tent and RV camping options will also be offered for the full duration of the festival. Attendee wishing to camp in an RV should contact VanHoy Farms.
This year, proceeds from the Jubilee will support the operating budget of the Carolina Farm Trust.
“We have […]
Music For The Ears, And Food Security For The Neighbors Raising Awareness For Carolina Farm Trust Initiative
Charlotte farmer Paul Brewington is featured in the documentary “The Farmer that Feeds Us,” which highlights community efforts to eradicate food insecurity. A fundraiser will be held July 8 in Historic West End with the soul/funk band Groove 8.
How much do Charlotteans think about food?
Carolina Farm Trust is bringing a feast to Historic West End on July 8 to raise awareness and funds for food security. Party with a Purpose is a day party at Mosaic Village designed to engage the community regardless of budget. Local soul/funk band Groove 8 will perform, and local beer will be available from Three Spirits Brewery.
Later that evening, the Wadsworth Estate serves as the backdrop for a feast benefiting Brewington Farms.
“In case one event wasn’t stressful enough, we decided to do two, because I really wanted to make sure that we incorporated the whole community,” Carolina Farm Trust founder and Executive Director Zack Wyatt said. “It was very difficult to try to do that in an event fundraiser type of platform. I hooked up with [Historic West End business owner] J’Tanaya Adams to secure the Mosaic Village space.
“We’re going to do a day party from noon to 3 p.m. We’re going to do some pulled pork, pulled chicken, and we’ll have a salad and a heritage side that Chef [Njathi Wa] Kabui, who is very active in West End and the Rosa Parks Farmers Market, designed. He’s going to be our main chef at night, but he kind of designed the menu for both events. Chef Kabui is from Kenya, and he lives in Apex on a farm. His family in Kenya has a farm as well. He has put together a nice African-themed menu for the dinner side.”
Despite residing in the area for more than […]
Pack your lawn chair and head to the West End this Saturday for a day of fun and food that will help support local farmers.
It’s a great opportunity to meet, greet, and eat while helping to improve food access in the city’s underserved areas.
While development is brisk on the west side of Charlotte, “food deserts” remain. Farmer Paul Brewington is one of the anchor vendors of the newly established Rosa Parks Farmers Market that serves the area. He’s a vocal proponent for the foods that are still hard to obtain for too many residents. “There is a quite a difference between the taste of fresh produce that is grown locally or a hundred-mile radius; a few hours old versus three to seven days old,” he says.
Zack Wyatt of advocacy group Carolina Farm Trust is one of the event’s organizers. He says, “Communities rise and fall based on food access. We need to break the little bubble we all live in and engage with our communities as a whole.”
Barbecue and side dishes will be available for a donation. At a “pop-up” version of the farmers market, guests can shop for food to take home. Proceeds will help Brewington build a greenhouse and expand his operation.
The day’s activities will be filmed as part of a docu-series Carolina Farm Trust is producing, titled The Farmer That Feeds Us. Microphones will be set up so attendees can share their thoughts.
A fundraising “Party with a Purpose” […]
“The first supermarket supposedly appeared on the American landscape in 1946…Until then, were was all the food? Dear folks, the food was in homes, gardens, local fields, and forests. It was near kitchens, near tables, near bedsides. It was in the pantry, the cellar, the backyard.” -Joel Salatin.
Every year, we loose an alarming amount of land to the continuous development of highways, shopping malls, and other urban developments leaving less and less land for acquisition and expansion for our farmers. If farmers can’t acquire, expand, and grow, but our population still continues to increase, where will we get our food? It will come from overseas, not down the street. It will come from big factory farms that are hazardous to our environment, mistreat our animals, and change the genetic codes of our food… It will… And it is… Wendell Berry states, “To be interested in food, but not our food production is clearly absurd.”
In our fast pace world, where convenience of the poorest quality foods are at our finger tips, we have developed into a society of overweight, disease ridden populous. We are becoming sick and tired. And we are becoming sick and tired of being sick and tired…. So what do we do? As individuals, this is a BIG question. We are mighty small in the BIG WORLD of politics and factory farming.
“If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. … We need not wait to see what others do.” -Ghandi
It all starts at the bottom of the hill, not the top. It is the little steps that lead to big steps. It is the […]
‘We Hope To Influence People By Our Actions’: How One North Carolinian Plans To Save Local Farmers In The Carolinas One Farm At A Time
When Zack Wyatt was laid off from his government contracting job in December 2014, he was mad — mad at himself, mad at those in his life, mad at his circumstance. But it didn’t take too long before he said passion got the better of him.
At just 35-years-old years old, Wyatt is a husband, the father of five children and the founder of Carolina Farm Trust, a new nonprofit organization that aims to protect farmland, support farmers in the Carolinas and foster an ecosystem of sustainable living. As Wyatt has said, “agriculture is long-term,” but as North Carolina relinquished hundreds of thousands of acres to urban and suburban development over the past few years, sustainable farming seemed pretty bleak.
Carolina Farm Trust, Wyatt told TheBlaze, is different from other nonprofits in that the organization doesn’t approach local farmers and say, “We want to help you, but you’ve got to do it our way.” Instead, the goal of Carolina Farm Trust is simple — the nonprofit purchases farmland and leases it back to local farmers with a lease that is perfectly tailored to the farmers’ vision. And from there, Wyatt said, the farmer can keep the land forever.
Worker Charlie Davis hauls a trailer of freshly picked flue-cured tobacco leaves during the harvest on land leased by Eaton Farms in Kernersville, North Carolina, U.S., on Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2012. Although smaller than last year, a quality U.S. tobacco crop endured a tough agricultural growing season in 2012. Photographer: Davis Turner/Bloomberg via Getty Images
“We are entering into relationships with people, and the leases will be kind of designed to be never ending as long as they’re farming,” Wyatt told TheBlaze in an interview. “We will have a relationship with someone and design the lease terms […]