Dec 8th, 1:30-4:30pm, 118 in attandance

Cabarrus Arena, directions:


What are the inhibitors & facilitators to building a local, sustainable food system?



Lack of:

  • Professional services that understand agriculture & farmers
    • attorneys, accountants, bankers, etc…
  • Food system businesses & liaisons (4)
    • Brokers to deal with small quantities
    • Logistics & distribution
    • Connections between growers & institutional buyers
  • Central organizing entities (2)
    • agricultural chamber of commerce
  • Physical facilities for food processing, packaging, cooking & storage (5)
    • Community kitchens
    • Animal slaughter
    • Cold Storage
  • Credit & financial support (e.g., insurance, start-up loans) (4)
  • Farmer cooperatives (3)
    • Independent nature of farmers
  • Local labeling (5)
    • State identification of local
    • Lack of credibility with existing retail labeling efforts – need a definition
    • Source labeling “face on the food”
  • Local Meat & Dairy (3)
    • Venison supply chain & market
  • CSAs-they are all booked (2)
  • Connections between consumers & farmers – not enough (3)


  • Societal/Cultural Values (3)
    • Food production is devalued as a profession
    • Food is not worth spending money on vs. other interests
    • Food quality is considered less important than price
  • Farmers – not enough (12)
    • Cost of entry into farming as a profession
      • Land prices
      • Equipment & inputs
    • Lack of interest/appeal to next generation
      • Hard work with no benefits
      • Rural brain drain
      • Farming vegetables isn’t ‘sexy”
    • Lack of profitability
      • Production costs are too high
  • Access to markets/supply chain broken (5)
    • Distance between supplier to market
    • Lack of relationship between growers & retail, restaurant buyers
    • Logistics
    • Restaurants & institutions focus only on price
  • Imported foods
  • GAP audit process (2)
  • Consumer Awareness / Public Perceptions (8)
    • Lack of understanding of seasonality & cooking
    • Cultural limitations (diet & negative connotations)
    • Lack of understanding & ability to identify local foods
    • Where to buy local foods?
    • Expect low prices and all-year availability of produce
    • Understanding food situation (e.g., age of most of farmers)
    • Farming is no longer a full time profession
    • Focus message on “food production” rather than “farming”
  • Consumer Convenience (5)
    • Limited hours at farmers markets
    • Convenience of / access to fast food
    • Work 50 hrs/week; no time to cook
  • Youth Education (3)
    • Lack of support for youth development (4-H)
    • Appeal to next generation
      • Lack of education in Highschools & Colleges
    • Lack of cultural activities for young farmers in rural areas
  • Farmer’s Markets (3)
    • Limited foot traffic
    • Assumption that they only exist in the summer
    • New markets need new producers
  • Restaurants
    • Fewer “mom & pop” restaurants
  • Media Coverage (2)
    • Not enough advocacy in the press
  • Affordability of Local Food
    • Need WIC/bus access
  • Dominance of existing agribusiness model (5)
    • Fundamental economies of scale
    • Industrial model
    • “Cheap Food Policy”
    • Regulations that support big ag & centralized production & processing
  • Limited profitability of urban farms
  • Lack of enforcement of environmental laws (e.g., Jordan Lake rules)
  • Urban sprawl & development pressure (5)
    • Annexation laws
    • Lack of walkability to local food markets
    • Lack of land use planning to support sustainable food production
  • Local laws & regulations (2)
    • HOA don’t like gardens, chickens, compost
    • Nuisance laws


  •      Artists can help depict farming & ag landscapes positively
  •      High fuel prices
  •      City & County Support

o    county-wide enforcement of soil & water regs

o    support for local markets

o    Right to Farm laws

  •      Federal support

o    Direct marketing

  •      Community building
  •      Churches

o    Emergency foods extending to community gardens

  •      Gardens (3)

o    Community

o    Interest in grow your own

  •      Farm to School (5)

o    Gardens in schools

o    School lunch program

  •      Support for educational infrastructure (4)

o    Extension service

o    Community education about benefits of local foods

o    Increased awareness of what is available

o    Sustainable agriculture in community colleges

  •      Dehydrating & canning
  •      Restaurants promoting local & organic foods

o    Johnson & Wales University

  •      Local media
  •      Funding

o    RAFI grants

  •      Consumer demand & public interest (7)

o    Local, national food movement

o    Appreciation of taste, heirloom varieties

o    Person-to-person contact

o    Food scares

o    Farmers are interested!

  •      Use of internet to open up new markets
  •      Grower Support (3)

o    Grower schools, internships

o    Growers Networks

  •      Linking older & younger farmers
  •      Farm preservation

o    Land development that retains farming activities

  •      Direct sales through institutions – churches, schools, hospitals
  •      Food security
  •      Educational initiatives (3)

o    Change curriculum standards

o    Museums & information educational organizations


“Game Changer” Solutions/Ideas for Moving Forward

The following ideas were identified as “game changers” – big ideas that are meaningful, impactful and doable in a 2 year time frame:


Regulatory Relief for Small Producers

Policies need to be scaled to the size of the producer; barrier to entry!

Regulations-poultry processing on the farm is too limited; feds let you do 20,000; NC state law is a barrier.


Transportation Tax-taxes on food that represent food miles traveled; create economic incentive for local food; the further your food travels, the higher the tax you pay; tax revenue is deposited into fund that supports sustainable agriculture & local food systems development. 


Local Restaurants–financial incentives to restaurants who use local food; they get a break on their taxes; also incorporate a rating system (add a star to the 5 star system) that rewards restaurants for sourcing locally.


Local Foods = Green Jobs; connect to the Obama transition team and administration and emphasize that local food systems are economic development & new jobs!


Involve the County Commissioners in the March Summit!!!



Solutions/Ideas for Moving Forward – Diverse Partnerships

New partnerships

            Slow Food & Future Farmers of America; overcome Monsanto’s interests

            4-H club-start here to create grassroots effort in public schools

            Cooperative Extension partner more with:

Local schools to plant gardens

Churches (4)

Faith-based partnerships involving community gardens and CSAs; “Church-Supported Agriculture.”

Extension engages churches across the state to increase awareness of local, seasonal foods & their importance in terms of nutrition and taking care of our poorest citizens.

Investigate model of Morman Church re: emergency food supplies, Red Cross, Salvation Army, etc…

Community Colleges

New school organizations focused on Slow Food

            Grower alliances to network & leverage resources

Build partnerships with local Chambers of Commerce.

Formulate & fund local food policy councils.

Partner with civic groups to help sponsor markets.

Create business models that can be used to educate potential entrepreneurs. 

Better partnerships with developers;

Partner with hospitals to host markets.

Create Agricultural Chamber of Commerce for farmers, lending organizations, county commissioners, restaurants.

Partner with community organizations like SEEDS in Durham.

Education / Farm to School

            Community college classes with local farmers (2)

            Gardens in all public schools – Cooperative Extension can help

            Grower schools – more of them

            Greenhouses in public schools which are not open in the summer.

            Edible school yards everywhere (3)

Farm to school contracts between farmers & schools; creates guaranteed constant market for portion of production; could decrease cost of food and create tax base; need a food cooperative to coordinate (2).

Give schools “state credit” for purchasing local.

Direct Marketing/Farmers Markets

            Gift certificate programs

            Give preference to local at all state markets

            Work with public transportation for access to markets

            Better WIC access

            Establish hours for market that are permanent

            Promote more “food clubs” (2)

Counties / State

            County & state funded institutional purchasing should be local foods (3)

Lift state regulations on using local food in cafeterias to start restoring school kitchens.

            Use state and or county and/or city owned property for growing food (4)

            Include farms in “greenway” planning & use of open space

            Consider how policies effect & support small urban operations as well as rural.

            Make land available for incubator farms; create incentives for landowners.

            Land use planning should be done on a regional (not county) basis / scope; target  a percentage of land that should be preserved for food production.

            Statewide all local day at all state institutions (including schools).

Invite county commissioners, environmental leaders & city councils to March Summit.

Financial support for local farmers markets.

Create Agricultural Development Coordinators at the county level

Public Health

            Pediatricians need to become advocates & educators

            Continuing education for nurses & doctors

                        Nutrition classes to new parents (along with lactation & birthing classes)

            NC Department of Health focused on school garden projects

            No Child Left Inside – being on a farm is time outside, gardening is time outside

            Meet families where they spend their leisure time


Reduce minimum size of agricultural land (10 acres) which qualifies for agricultural tax abatement, to allow for/encourage part time food production (2)

Level the “subsidy playing field” (make sure small food producers are eligible for same incentive treatment as large producers).

Scale-appropriate regulation (e.g., poultry situation).

State tax credits / subsidies for small farmers (4)

Incentives for diversified production systems that utilize livestock waste for crop production

Incentives for organic producers and grain producers who sustain local livestock producers

Impact fee-whenever there is development or annexation of farmland, charge an impact fee which would be paid into a general Farmland Preservation Fund; fees to be paid by developer to be used to preserve farmland statewide (2)

Suspend estate (inheritance) taxes for farms to keep them in families.

Help provide organizational support for farmers to have a voice in legislature & policy building. 

Increase protection from “eminent domain” Voluntary Agricultural Districts (VAD) do not provide adequate protection.

Present use value of farmland has ceiling but no floor; available opportunity to cut farmers’ taxes to a low level.

Tax breaks to restaurants who use local food

Remove state rules that prohibit use of local/on-site food in public schools.

Tax on foods depending on how far they travel from production to sale.

Soil Quality (3) –

Create a program for “transferable” fertility credits.

Preservation of high quality soils for agricultural use.

Improve soil quality; protect NC’s topsoil; focus on how we can “produce” soil through such practices as composting; requires educational shift form “conventional” to “conservation.”

Regulations to support environmentally friendly sound management of waste streams;


Create or enable value-added processing facilities for small independent producers.

Defray cost of 3rd party audit & accreditation and insurance

Promote knowledge & experience of growing practices OVER accreditation and fear-based policies.

Website with all approved farms, products grown, seasonality & contact information.

County-funded cold storage facilities (2)

Mobile animal processing (3)

Small scale fixed facilities (3).

            Create inspected slaughter plant for deer to feed everyone, not just hunters.

            Create more ECOs.

            Dairy processing.


            Focus research on season extension strategies

            Remove barriers to shelter growing

Inventory of available land and what is good for agriculture & programs to save it (2)

Statewide food assessment-where ar the markets, producers, processing plants, grain processing, transportation & distribution.


Market Labeling

            Create labeling system for NC producers to facilitate branding & marketing

            Organized identification of local food at markets & restaurants

            Require labeling and demand preferred location for local.



Use existing outlets to increase consumer education; grower profiles, features in local news, bundle with weather report & include pictures, make media efforts age appropriate, utilize internet; maybe work with Cooperative Extension

Dispel myths about “ignorant farmers” utilize field days, farm tours, internships, media coverage, FFA, 4-H, make farming a profession to be revered and aspired to.

Educational programs / farm tours for county commissioners & public policy makers.

Focus statewide media campaign on value of agricultural land for agritourism, food production, cooking & eating NC foods, etc…(study campaigns like this in other states.)

Focus on the real cost of food.

Create a reward for the “farmer” of the year to reward innovation in local food.

Utilize local government channels to publicize local food availability.

Educate consumers about current food system & need for local, sustainable.

Support for New & Transitioning Farmers

Connect farmers with landownersNeed a program to match up young farmers with “absentee” land holders; list or repository of farmers that want to buy/lease land that becomes available so it can be kept as a farm;

Craig’s List” to act as a clearing house for equipment, resources and information clearinghouse for farmers; NCDA could be a central location to provide resources for farmers/prospective farmers (2)

Cost share with county extension for large pieces of equipment that could be shared in the community.

Attention to the issues of middle-sized farms.

Programs to assess farms for energy uses & alternatives to current energy uses & a solution program (2).

Reevaluation of tax codes/incentives for farmland uses, ordinances, zoning, etc…

“Farm Corps” model of reimagining 4-H perception and outlet for school education.

Incubator farms with direct sales to schools, churches, non-traditional locales.

Encourage diversity among farmers; connect with Latino & other culturally diverse farmers.

Incubator projects – address land prices being too high to get started.

Ban GMOs-farmers need to be able to save their own seeds & not worry about cross pollination or the threat of being sued by Monsanto.

Urban/Suburban Communities

            Victory garden approach (2)

            Strategic placement of community gardens

            Expand Parks & Rec community garden programs (2)

Find a model HOA that will change their policies to support gardens; planned communities with agricultural emphasis.

Incentives for folks who grow foods & use cisterns for their home & community gardens

Extension & community college support for “side businesses”; urban gardeners and others who may not intend to become full-time farmes but who wish to grow for a CSA or farmers’ market or specialty products.

Use of stormwater for irrigation of community gardens.

New development should include schools, small farmland, retail and related industries including rainwater harvesting, solar & wind power, etc…

Farm Labor

            Coalition in support of farm labor.


 current efforts 

Grow More Farms


Know Your Farms, Christy Shi

-food buying club

-distribution for local farms


Farm to Table



Building community support and recognition of local farms


Local public services in agriculture areas to reduce housing pressure

Cab Co.


Incubator Farm Atondo Road, Cabbarrus


Incubator Programs


Grow More Farms & Farmers  HOW?

-land for farming is very scarce in this area

-emphasize alternative farming i.e. fish, green house veggies, mushrooms

-make grant money available to would be farmers for land

-create new ways to produce food in existing facilities

Landis Gourmet Mushrooms

Mushrooms in Old Cotton Mills


Farmer to Farmer Program

1. Cooperative Extension

2. Chatham County Farmers

3. Carrboro Farmer’s Market


Extension Field Days and programming

Demonstrate new methods of processing crops statewide



Incubator Farm


Town of  Davidson

Environmental sustainability study group designing recommendations for local food including creation of healthy leases for new farmers, Christy Shi


Incubator Farm

Cabarrus County Coop Ext

1/4 to ½ acre plate to experiment with production to determine if they want to pursue a farm venture


Farmland Preservation Program

“Putting Small Acreage to Work” – educational workshops for small gardener

Lara Warden, Gaston County Extension Agent, 922-2118


Grow cities up not out

City planners involved in vision for farming

Local farms/access report of city planning

Marilyn Marks,SOSAWACD, End


FFA & 4-H


Connect interested kids with farmers


Farm Incubator



Connect to youth resources to make connections to farming


Farmer’s Markets



Vol. Ag. Dist.


Leaf Light


Lard Preservation through land use planning

Cabarrus Co.


Cabarrus County

Incubator Farm


Farm Incubator in Cabarrus County


Farmland Preservation Ordinance


Webinar – Farm Incubator Seminar (CFSA)


Solution: market to “fringe” not choir

i.e. market to people who are interested but not yet engaged


Monthly meeting, 2nd Thursday 8:45 – 9:10 meeting, Friendship Trace

Nutrition Coalition Meetings

Foothills Fresh

Carolina Farm

Stewardship Assoc.


Central Clearing House with information classifieds


Direct sales through churches, schools (religious) hospitals and other institutions


Eating our local foods

Spend money locally



Incubator Farm Program

Bryan Green, Orange County; Cabarrus


Farm Incubator Program


Carolina Farm Stewardship Internships

Warren Wilson NCSU

Central Carolina U


Catawba Land Conservancy

NC Farmland Trust Fund



Strong & Diverse


Lack of Distribution

Farm Co-Ops

Grocery Co-Ops


Community Kitchens, canners, freezer, slaughterhouse, pack houses, warehousing


Strong land use plans


Clean Water Source

Davidson County


Cruse Meat Processing in Cabarrus


Tim Will, Foothills Fresh

Local food distribution from mountains to Charlotte area restaurants


Community Gardens

Potential for more organized programs such as seeds


School Gardens

1. Local hospital (First Health Community Services)

2. Cooperative Extension/Master Gardens

3. Moore County Schools

4. Town of Southern Pines


Slow Foods

Working on education and support for farms, restaurants and consumers


Know Your Farms

Buying club for local foods

Contact: Christy Shi


Native Meats

New local meat producer and distributor from S.C.

Rolle Knokke is the principal


Farmer’s Markets


First Garden/First School Garden

1. First Health

2. Cooperative Extension/Master Gardens

3. Town of Southern Pines

4. Town of Aberdeen

5. Moore County Schools


Need to have more effort to develop marketplace network.  Making sure everybody is on the same page.


BRAC Regional Task Force and Extension

Integrate Sustainable Ag. Trials into farmland preservation plans


Friendship Trays

Rent out cold storage and shares use of kitchen


Food Buy

Compass Group

Foster Caveness Distribution


Farm Fresh Market



Know Your Farms, LLC

Davidson, NC

Distributing from farmers in counties to restaurants, individuals, etc in Charlotte


Slaughter Facility in Cabarrus County


Co-Op Extension


Almance County

“Kitchen” available to process fruits, jellies, etc


County Programs

-Cruse’s Meats

Central database of “in season” crops to facilitate contacting growers



4H Club Fair


Providers Guides for Local Groups

(Restaurants, Institutions, Retail Looking for local products)


Elma C. Lomax

Incubator Farms

David Goforth, Cab County Extension


Agribusiness Days

Cab Co. Fair/Sept

6th Graders

Debbie Bost

Cab. Co. Extension


Foothills Fresh Coop

NC Cooperative Extension

Farm Tours



NC Farms to Schools


Rowan-Salisbury Schools


Come to the Table, Regional Conference, Charlotte, Myers Park Baptist Church 2/27/09

Stewardship of Creation

Presbytery of Charolotte

Cabarrus County CROP Hunger Walk

Project Food, Land & People (k-12 curriculum)

Dennis Testerman 704-920-3303


Urban Ministries

CPCC – 704-330-4826

Grows Some Things For


Farm Trials, Farm Tours: Generate Interest and educate

Greater Infrastructure in Triangle area

In CLT-interested consumer base

Public Education can get consumers interested

Farmer’s Market is an example of how it works

Farm collectives share equipment and resources

Barrier to Entry=product liability

Industrial Agriculture Model

How do market?

How do we overcome barriers/regulation?

How do we bring in new ideas to demographic that is perhaps set in its ways?

Great interest from school food providers

Demand outstrips supply

Need to connect to demand to suppliers→constraints (Govt regulated)

Orange County

The Breeze Farm

Incubation Project

Carolina Farm Stewards

WEbinar with incubators

3 hours!

Established land for an incubator farm

Access to land

Mentor people interested in farming

Cabarrus County Mgr.


Urban Farming Tour

Moore County

Jan Leitschch


Slow Food Charlotte

Shamrock Elementary


Local Cooking Classes including food preservation


Community Gardens alive and well

Schools K-12


Reedy Creek

Omni Montessori Farm School

Blakeney Heath Road

Charlotte, NC

ATTN: Gazae Baker


Youth Groups


Future Farmers Assoc at high schools



On-farm dinners

Partner with Johnson and Wates


Ask Americorp – VISTA to provide staff support


Identify related college degrees and careers for expansions of health/food business


Talk to 4-H about local organic food and the Alice Waters Model for Edible School Yard

Start School chapters (K-12) and support existing ones


Nutritional Food Preparers


Nutrition and Public Health Policies for Youth Advocacy


Educational Facilities and Retreat Sites


Talk to “FFA” about local organic food and the Alice Waters model for Edible School with money that competes with corporation and is already integrated into schools but need to understand this


Local markets

CSA Models

“Tailgate” Farmers


“Green Horns”

Finding young farmers

Severine Fleming


Local Government




Slow Foods


Cooperative Extensions


School Education Programs

(Food For Thought)


Expand Market Access


WIC acceptance at Farmer’s Market

Matthews and Stately County

$4 cards for purchase


Urban Farm


Slow Food Charlotte

Slow Food Carolina

Piedmont Region


Charlotte Tailgate Farmer’s Market

Lynn Caldwell


Farmer’s Markets


New Farmer’s Markets for low produce purchases, Cabarrus Davidson


Murdock Farmer’s Market (new) Kann, NC



Community supported agriculture


Connect farmers with CO-OP, food clubs, restaurants, etc

Big food uses sales folks and advertising, small farms can’t afford brain-storm


Extension agents bring grant, cast share and new market opportunities to farmers, Melissa Hall, Moore County


Moore County Farmers Market

1. Farmers

2. Town of Southern Pines

3. Cooperative Extension

4. First Health


To continue educating consumer to entry of market i.e. options

Know Your Farms – Christy Shi, Davidson

Bread Riot-Maria Thomson, Salisbury

Johnston & Wales, Charlotte


Farmer’s Markets


Foothills Fresh

Regional local foods marketing effort coordinated by NC Cooperative Extension


School Gardening Program in Gaston County is coordinated by NC Cooperative Extension (D. Fogerty 704-922-2130)


Shamrock Elementary School, Thom Duncan Garden Slow Food


Farmer’s Market in Kann sponsored by the Research Center Murdock Committee


Local only markets (Charlotte area)

Matthews – website

Tailgate – website

Davidson – affiliated with Town of Davidson

Gastonia – Carol Schwab

Mt. Holly – Lee Brinkley


#5,000 grant to Health Dept for public school gardens


Murdoch Center, Kannapolis


Winter markets, Matthews, Davidson, Regional and Tailgate


Unity for Poverty and Hunger

Committee that includes heads of all food charities in Charl/Meek


Improving Regulatory Environment


More markets

Restaurants and Farm Markets

Gaston County Government Employees

Farmer’s Market Incentives

Employee Wellness

Linda Minges,


Farmer’s Markets in many counties


Direct marketing to restaurants, etc


“Goodness Grows” Program, NCDK


Purchase of local foods by school systems and other government agencies


Know Your Farms Local Food Club


“Foothills Fresh” promotes local food in six western Piedmont counties


Large institutional suppliers


-sysco ex

-PYA/US Foods


Food Broker to connect farm to outlets

EX: Know Your

ATTN: Christy SH


Abundance of Farmers Markets in Charlotte Metro area (too many to list)


Farmers to backyard gardens

-selling organic plants to homeowners


Local natural/organic food

Business-“Natural Gourmet”, Jane Little 704-788-2334

Very little being done nutritionally or for sustainability or organics

Incubator farm on Atanov Ro



(Eastern Carolina Organics)

New Urban Gardens-Belmont/Charlotte

Rich Deming


New Area Farmer’s Market – Govt’s are supporting


Food buying clubs (Know Your Farms)

Christy and Joe Shi


Strong Infrastructure



Come to the Table





Farm to School



Edible School Yard

Shamrock Elementary


Lynn Robertson

Farm to School Program


Urban Minority

Edible landscaping



Volunteer to help at farms:

Gleaning, harvesting, weeding


Cooperative Extensions

Municipal Support

Farmer’s Markets

Community College

Small Business Centers to support business planning and assistance

CPCC, Stanly CC

South Piedmont and others

Market Shelters

Farmer’s Market

WIC Program

Helps farmers and low income women, infants and children

Cooperative Extension and Tourism to support farm tourism, Davidson County

Farm tours as part of an education process, Davidson County

Friendship Trays preordered/paid for a local farm to grow food

Meals on Wheels, culinary school, gleaners share a location/kitchen in Charlotte

FFA & 4H need to improve local foods as pects in programs

Money to support partnership education and networking




One Response to “Charlotte/Concord”

  1. John Hartom Says:

    Very interested in what you are doing. We are starting a garden in Yancey co. with the produce dedicated to our local food providers. Founders of Empty Bowls, an international grassroots effort to fight hunger you may know about and may wish to consider for your program. Would like to establish dialogue. thanks

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