Over the last decade, the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association (CFSA) has provided programs to build a healthy, just, sustainable food and farming system by addressing challenges like the loss of farmers and farmland; the need for research and resources tailored to help family farmers thrive; the struggle to maintain the integrity of sustainable agriculture in the face of greenwashing and profiteering; and the necessity of empowering people to control decisions about their community’s food supply. We are pleased to share with you this Impact Report that illustrates CFSA’s labors through the stories and statistics of the people we are serving, and we hope it will inspire you to find more that you can do to join our work in 2017 and beyond.
Understanding the Need
CFSA is working to protect the ability of family-scale farms and high-integrity businesses to thrive in the growing organic sector
The Challenge: Who will grow our food?
- The average age of farmers nationally is 58.3 years old
- North Carolina has lost almost 9,000 farms and more than a million acres of farmland since the mid-1990s
- The number of beginning farmers in North Carolina dropped 21% between 2007-2012
- South Carolina has lost almost 400,000 acres of farmland since the 1980s
- The number of beginning farmers in South Carolina dropped 19% between 2007-2012
The Challenge: Training, Research & Resources
In addition to providing farmer training and resources on production, markets, and other farm business skills, CFSA has identified gaps in farmers’ need for:
- Individualized help transitioning to organic
- Assistance meeting the increasing food safety requirements of retail and wholesale markets
- Farmer-driven applied research on organic practices in the Southeast
- Sourcing organic inputs
The Challenge: Organic Integrity
- As the organic food market has grown and large-scale food companies have expanded their offering in the organic sector, the Consumers Union has downgraded its confidence-rating in the organic label, which has put public trust in organic agriculture at risk.
- The leadership of the organic farming movement in general is missing the perspective of farmers, especially from the South, in developing successful strategies to defend organic integrity and expand organic adoption by family farms.
How CFSA Is Responding to The Challenge
We provide technical consulting services to help farmers use sustainable and organic production practices, as well as become USDA Organic Certified and Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) Certified and grow successfully in High Tunnels
Elma C. Lomax Incubator Farm
CFSA supports local, organic farming while equipping a new generation of farmers.
We’re equipping farmers to grow local and organic and building the network they need to succeed.
Policy & Advocacy
We’re driving the conversation about local, organic agriculture – nationally, locally and at the state level.
We are continually working to develop new tools and identify new markets for farmers and producers to build their businesses, providing benefits across the Carolinas.