Thursday, November 15, 2007
Strenghtening Our Local Food System.
This morning I set in on a meeting about our local food system. There are three proposals on the table for strengthening our local food system. They include a small farm incubator. This is a facility to help young people interested in farming overcome two major barriers. The first is the capital expense and the second is the knowledge of how to run a farm. Prospective farmers lease a portion of the property to farm. The only one I know in NC is called Raft Swamp Farm. Another idea is developing a local facility for killing livestock. Right now a farmer would have to haul a cow to a different county for slaughter and then go back in a separate truck to haul the animal back. The extra expense increases the cost and makes it less profitable for farmers. Concurrently, we are looking at developing institutional markets for the cheaper cuts of meat. One of the problems with growing local beef in the past has been selling the cheaper cuts. Solving these two problems should create more money for the 7 million dollar livestock industry here in Cabarrus County. Finally, improved management for our local farmers market would strengthen our fruit and vegetable industry.