A Jump Start for New North Carolina Farmers
Monday, January 26, 2015
RALEIGH, N.C. - As the interest in locally-produced foods grows, an increasing number of young people are looking to make a living farming the land.
Allison Kiehl, farmland stewardship and sustainability director with the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, says there is a great need in North Carolina to have a successful flow of farmers producing local foods.
But she says there are many challenges including the high price of land, which often is prime for development.
"Agriculture is one of the biggest economic producers in our state," says Kiehl. "Farmers are aging and in a lot of cases they don't have children that want to take over the farm, and sometimes the best option is to sell to development."
The conservancy's Farmer Incubator Program is initiating new agricultural businesses in North Carolina by offering new farmers access to land and equipment at reduced rates. Kiehl says farmers in the program also are given support, training and tools to help them run their businesses.
Land outside of Asheville protected by a conservation easement by the conservancy is also helping young farmers. Gaining Ground Farm is leasing the land, and owner Anne Grier says they've doubled their production and expanded their Community Supported Agriculture Program.
She says it provides stability because they can plan out what and how much they need to grow for the year.
"The people pay ideally between now and March for produce that they'll be getting from May until October," says Grier. "It just helps us know what to grow in what volume, so it's just a very secure thing."
The incubator program has allowed Matt Coffay, farmer at Second Spring Market Garden in Asheville, to expand their CSA year round. He says they have more greenhouses for use, which has increased their winter food production. Aside from providing fresh, local food, he says the CSA is building community.
"CSA is the pinnacle of story building with food," says Coffay. "You're able to actually build a relationship between an individual member of a CSA and an individual farmer, and that relationship can last for years."
The incubator program was launched last year, and applications are accepted on a rolling basis.
get more stories like this via email
2022 was a banner year for women elected as governor. Nearly one-third of America's governors will be women next year, which is a record. Iowa …
Residential water rates in Michigan are soaring, with an estimated one out of ten households without access to or unable to afford clean water…
Fracking is a very water-intensive industry, and a new study dives into the impact of unconventional oil and gas drilling on aquatic ecosystems in …
A Bellingham man who supports people with dementia has received one of the most prestigious awards for volunteerism in Washington state. The …
Native American tribal communities and conservation groups got a big win Wednesday as President Joe Biden announced he intends to create a new nationa…
A decision could come today on Nevada's bid to become the first state in the nation to hold a Democratic primary in 2024. The Democratic National …
Snow is on the ground in much of Minnesota, but the state is coming off another warm season with notable drought conditions. Those who monitor …
The nation is beefing up its power grids for the transition to fueling everything from cars to home cooling systems with electricity, and addressing …