2 Jun, 2021

Developing your personal giving story

By |2021-06-02T15:29:21+00:00June 2, 2021|Donors, Newsletter|0 Comments

Corey Easterday had always been involved in the nonprofit world but when he moved to the Queen City, he ached to connect with the social good community and later found that his support for Carolina Farm Trust was more than a one-time donation.

Photo Credits: Corey Easterday

Corey Easterday did not always grow up having everything at his disposal. In fact, his reality was the opposite. Born and raised in northeast Ohio, he wouldn’t describe himself as growing up poor, but it did not take away from the fact that his family faced financial hardships throughout his life. 

“My family grew up in a poverty situation for a lot of my formative years, and it was very situational. It came from circumstances where my family was experiencing some struggles, especially since my mom, at one point, was a single parent raising me and my sister.”

And thus, his interest and love for the work of nonprofits steamed and grew when he came across many local community organizations in college that were helping out families similar to his. One, in particular, caught his attention: Current Initiatives. Current Initiatives is an organization based in Florida where one of their main initiatives is called The Laundry Project and one that resonated personally with Corey. The Laundry Project is a laundry day where Current Initiatives provides all the quarters and soap needed so that families could come and do their laundry.

“One of the best ways to help people is to find something very tangible and practical and meet that need,” said Corey, as he reminisced […]

5 Apr, 2021

Farmer Spotlight: Meet Christina Benton – A farmer whose purpose is to improve food access

By |2021-04-06T00:49:29+00:00April 5, 2021|Farmers, Fruits, Newsletter, Spring, Vegetables|0 Comments

Photo Courtesy of Christina Benton

Spring brings light and hope, a much-needed sentiment after last year’s gloomy anxiousness for our health and well-being of our loved ones, as well as the threatening worries of our country’s economic condition.

Many of us struggled as we saw, or even experienced first-hand, the already unjust structures of our current food system hitting economically distressed communities, low-income households, and Black, Indigenous, and other communities of color with the hardest blow. 

But, just as spring brings light, there are also luminaries who shed the light of kindness when it’s most needed. 

When you meet Christina Benton, you meet a farmer who not only grows a traditional market farm but goes beyond to think about who might receive her produce on the other end. Her main focus is ACCESS.

After leaving her job as a forensic anthropologist and moving back to North Carolina, Christina wanted to alleviate a current pain point in our food system. She founded Janco Community Farms, a model centered around the idea of taking unusable lots in food apartheid areas, food deserts, and low-income housing communities around Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. Then, Christina turned them into small food production areas to feed fresh and nutritious food for those who lacked access. But, once the pandemic hit, Christina thought of expanding the one thing she knew how to do: grow food to feed others.  

Her vision grew when she contacted Carolina Farm Trust (CFT) to see if there were any opportunities available to expand her mission. In her own words, it happened serendipitously. 

“Our largest lot was only a ¼ acre, and I […]

27 Aug, 2020

Partnership Announcement: The Urban Farm at Aldersgate

By |2020-09-09T10:47:23+00:00August 27, 2020|Farmers, News|0 Comments

We are thrilled and honored to announce a new partnership at the Urban Farm at Aldersgate. Wisdom and Cherie Jzar, founders and owners of Deep Roots CPS Farm, will manage the Urban Farm at Aldersgate over the next 6 months as we develop a longer-term transition plan. Under Wisdom and Cherie’s mentorship, Sam Hargrove will help manage the daily operations of the farm. 

Carolina Farm Trust and Deep Roots CPS Farm share the goal of ensuring equitable access to healthy, fresh, and affordable foods. The alignment of our work will undoubtedly potentiate the multitude of benefits that the Urban Farm can bring to Charlotte’s East Side. In addition, we at Carolina Farm Trust are excited to support Wisdom and Cherie as they usher in Sam as a Black farmer working in urban agriculture. 

Wisdom and Cherie bring to the farm a wealth of knowledge and experience in agriculture, business administration, and community building. They are passionate about connecting the community to nutritious food, inspiring the next generation of farmers, intergenerational engagement in farming, and reducing racial barriers to farming. We hope that this will be just the beginning of a long-term partnership between Carolina Farm Trust and Deep Roots CPS Farm, and we look forward to the coming months.

Please follow Deep Roots CPS Farm on social media and support their work! https://www.facebook.com/Deeprootscpsfarm/ and https://www.instagram.com/mrsjzarurbanfarmer/

3 May, 2018

Aldersgate and Carolina Farm Trust Sow Seeds For Eastside Charlotte Residents

By |2020-09-09T10:47:23+00:00May 3, 2018|Press|0 Comments

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 […]

2 Oct, 2017

Carolina Farm Trust Filling Gaps In The Local Food Movement Through Carolina Jubilee Music Festival

By |2020-09-09T10:47:23+00:00October 2, 2017|Carolina Jubilee, News|0 Comments

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 […]

12 Aug, 2017

Carolina Jubilee Is A Lot More Than A Music Festival

By |2020-09-09T10:47:23+00:00August 12, 2017|Carolina Jubilee, News|0 Comments

“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 […]

16 Jul, 2017

Carolina Jubilee Supports Carolina Farm Trust

By |2020-09-09T10:47:23+00:00July 16, 2017|Carolina Jubilee, News|0 Comments

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 […]

6 Jul, 2017

Music For The Ears, And Food Security For The Neighbors Raising Awareness For Carolina Farm Trust Initiative

By |2020-09-09T10:47:24+00:00July 6, 2017|News|0 Comments

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 […]

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