Thursday, April 26, 2007

Local farms in the news

Following on the heels of a successful Piedmont Farm Tour, NBC 17 news this week did a great story on how consumers can buy a share in a local farm, also known as "Community Supported Agriculture" or CSA. CSA's are popping up all over North Carolina, and they're a great way for consumers to get a bounty of fresh, locally-grown produce all season long at a good price, and directly from a farmer they know and trust.

Some CSA farmers like Hilltop Farms' Fred Miller, allow members to come out and work on the farm (look for PESTed staffer and Hilltop Farms member Billie Karel weeding organic strawberries in the NBC17 story!). Working at the farm increases a family's connection to the place their food comes from, a welcome change in today's industrialized food market, where one box of cereal might contain ingredients from farms and factories on every continent.

A bill working its way through the NC General Assembly would put some state investment behind local, organic growers in North Carolina. The NC Organic Economic Opportunities Act would fund state research on the current status of organic agriculture in North Carolina, and its potential for growth. Even with CSA's and farmers' markets on the rise in our state, the vast majority of organic foods eaten here were grown someplace else - most often California.

You can support local, organic agriculture in North Carolina by urging your state representatives to support this important bill, and of course by buying locally. Check out this handy list of CSA farms in NC to find out how you can sign up for one!

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