Find Locally Grown Food in Western North Carolina
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Charlie Jackson, Local Food Campaign Director, Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project
Phone: work 828-293-3262; mobile 828-342-4396
The movement to support local farms by purchasing locally grown food is sweeping the country. With the release of the 2003 Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project’s (ASAP) Local Food Guide, finding locally grown food in western North Carolina has never been easier. “This is one of the most comprehensive guides in the country” according to Charlie Jackson, Local Food Campaign Director for ASAP, “our farmers and businesses are leaders in the local food movement.” At least 20,000 of the free Guides will be distributed throughout the region and the Guide is also available on the web at www.BuyAppalachian.org.
“The local food movement is growing because more and more people are realizing what we lose if local farms disappear,” says Jackson. According to the agricultural census records, nearly 3/4 of the farmland in western North Carolina has been lost in the last century, making the region more dependent on distant farms for food. With the loss of local processors and the changes in markets for farm products, the loss of farmland is predicted to continue. The Local Food movement is an attempt to support farms by purchasing the products produced on local farms, thus adding income to the farmer and keeping more money in the local economy. Currently most of the consumer food dollar goes to support large farms thousands of miles away.
According to Jackson “our food now travels more than we do,” noting that in the U.S. food currently travels an average 1500 miles before reaching the dinner table. “This means that food is now grown more for transportation and shelf life than for taste.” A recent study conducted by NC State University confirms that Americans want more locally grown food, with 70% of those surveyed responding that they would spend more for locally produced foods.
The recent growth in the popularity of farmers’ tailgate markets is another indicator of the growing movement to support local farms and enjoy fresh food. The tailgate market section of the Local Food Guide lists 35 markets in 24 counties in western North Carolina. “The tailgate market is a great place to meet and support farmers” notes Frank Teneralli, a Madison County farmer who sells at several Asheville markets, “the atmosphere at the markets is wonderful with people from all over coming out to enjoy music, homemade foods, and of course the freshest fruits and vegetables available anywhere.”
The Local Food Guide is a resource for finding restaurants, grocers, bed and breakfasts and other local food retailers, farmers, tailgate markets, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms, as well as new categories for apple orchards and U-Pick farms. It includes a seasonal availability chart, farm profiles of Appalachian farms, and even a kids’ page. The Guide is compiled and printed yearly by the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project, a community-based non-profit focused on sustaining farms and rural communities. The 54-page Guide is available at local businesses that support family farms and on the web at www.BuyAppalachian.org.