eNews December 2015


Dear Friends of Food and Farms,

As the year comes to a close, the work of our CFSA farmers and friends involved with bringing food to our holiday tables seems especially close to our hearts. Throughout the holiday season, we’ll be sharing stories of members that inspire us, representing the work that you all do throughout the Carolinas to ensure that the food we eat comes from farmers who share our values. Take a minute to read a few of these stories, and look for a new one every week until the new year. Also, as CFSA has increased its work in the field this year to support our farmers and food businesses, please consider supporting CFSA in your end of year giving.

Thank you,

elizabeth signature

Elizabeth Read, Communications and Development Director





Micro Market Farms Transform Neighborhoods in Henderson, NC


by Stephanie Campbell, CFSA’s Outreach Coordinator

crews - gap certification

Ardis and Henry Crews, of Henderson, NC, don’t let any moss grow under their feet. Instead they are transforming their community by growing micro-enterprise urban farms called Micro Market Farms. In the past 18 months they have helped establish seven of these urban farms and the city of Henderson has agreed to give them fifteen more abandoned lots to work with.

“We grow viable small businesses for local folks, places for youth to learn, and relationships with neighbors who re-learn how to be neighborly. The garden opens doors and neighbors begin to share ideas and act together for community re-development.”

Learn more about Ardis and Henry 


Lowcountry Street Grocery Bus Hopes to Drive out Hunger with help from CFSA Business Development Consulting


by Stephanie Campbell, CFSA’s Outreach Coordinator

Kate DeWitt_Lindsey Barrow Jr._4_jwbCFSA’s mission is to help people in the Carolinas grow and eat local, organic food. We have a proven track record of training farmers to grow organically, increasing access to high-value markets for small-scale farms, and advocating for farm and food policy reform. But, we realized that an important piece of the seed-to-plate puzzle was missing: in many parts of NC and SC, the local food infrastructure was lacking or inadequate to handle demand. In other words, we’ve helped train farmers to grow and raise local, sustainable produce and meats, but facilities to get those products from farm to fork were few and far between.

To bridge this gap, last year CFSA launched an exciting initiative whose goal is to build and strengthen community food infrastructure in the Carolinas. We selected eight innovative and exciting food projects – four in North Carolina and four in South Carolina – to provide business development consulting services this year.

One of those projects is the Lowcountry Street Grocery (LSG) in Charleston, SC. LSG is a mission-driven, mobile farmers’ market designed to make healthy, local food affordable and accessible to all Charleston residents, including those residing in areas designated as food deserts.

Learn more about Lowcountry Street Grocery


Beginning Farmers – the Future of our Food System


by Stephanie Campbell, CFSA’s Outreach Coordinator

Ben Street - Lomax FITThe USDA estimates that about 70% of farmland will change hands over the next two decades.


The average age of farmers today is 57.


As many as 50% of US farmers will retire in the next ten years.


Just two years ago Ben Street was living and working in front of a computer in Charlotte, NC, when he realized what he would really love to be doing was farming. He grew up in the suburbs of D.C. with no background in farming but he had always cared about fitness, which led to an interest in nutrition, which led to finding out where his food came from, which led to farming. He realized that he liked hard work and good food, wanted to maintain an active outdoor lifestyle, and was energized by the idea of providing healthy food for the community.

So, he went online looking for local farms and emailed almost fifty farmers, offering to volunteer. Joe Rowland, of Rowland’s Row Family Farm, responded. Joe was a Farmer-in-Training (FIT) at the Elma C. Lomax Incubator Farm in Cabarrus County, NC. Joe and Ben talked about farming over weeding bush beans and soon Ben was attending all of the training meetings at Lomax and spending weekends volunteering at Joe’s farm. Fast forward to this year when Ben became a FIT at Lomax himself.

Learn more about Ben


Sustainable Agriculture Conference Presentations, Photos & MemoriesSAC-15-Slide-2

30th Annual Sustainable Agriculture Conference
Nov. 6-8, 2015 in Durham, NC

The 30th Annual Conference was held in Durham, NC, Nov. 6-8, and featured over 70 food and farm workshops, farm tours, and hands-on intensives. Farmers, gardeners, foodies, and agriculture professionals from all across the Carolinas came to learn about the latest in sustainable farming methods, urban farming, food policy activism, and how to build local food systems.

We were especially proud to be able to send 25 beginning farmers to the conference on the William W. Dow Memorial scholarship. Thank you to the generous donors who made this possible!

Conference highlights included our annual award ceremony, Michael Twitty’s incredible keynote, and, as always, the amazing local and organic meals.


DOWNLOAD great resources and presentations from the Conference.

ENJOY some terrific Sustainable Ag. Conference photos in our Facebook photo album


WATCH or LISTEN to Michael Twitty’s Keynote 


CHECK OUT the interesting stories from our Conference bloggers at From Scratch Magazine:

We especially like their post about the fantastic facial hair spotted at the Conference!

Local Food at the CFSA Sustainable Agriculture Conference! 

Michael Twitty and the Fertile Ground Food Cooperative 

Ethical Meat with Meredith Leigh 

Grow Veggies This Winter!


Congratulations to CFSA’s Sustainable Agriculture Award Winners

John O'SullivanWe are pleased to recognize the following recipients of our 2015 sustainable agriculture awards. The awards honor institutions and individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the sustainable food movement in North and South Carolina and have helped make the Carolinas a leader in sustainable agricultural sectors in the country.

Lifetime Achievement Award – John O’Sullivan

Farmer of the Year – Portia McNight and Flo Hawley, Chapel Hill Creamery

Beginning Farmer of the Year – Dani and Joe Rowland, Rowland’s Row Family Farm

NC Extension Agent of the Year – Der Xiong, Catawba County

SC Extension Agent of the Year – Harry Crissy, Clemson University

Institution of the Year – Farmer Foodshare

Business of the Year – Country Farm and Home, Pittsboro

Activist of the Year – Grace and Cary Kanoy

Learn more about these outstanding leaders in sustainable agriculture


CFSA Thanks Kris Reid for Bringing Farm to Fork Menus to Life at the Sustainable Agriculture Conference

kris-headshot-2If you’ve attended the Conference before, you’ve experienced CFSA’s dedication to offering a menu based on the best, pick-of-the-season, sustainably grown food supplied by local farmers.  We are extremely grateful to Kris Reid, who has helped us set the model for this innovative, high level of collaboration with our host venues. Kris has worked with CFSA’s farmers to source fresh ingredients, and coordinated with hotel staff to create the vision for inventive, delicious menus at the event. As Kris steps down from the role of Local Food Coordinator for Sustainable Agriculture Conference, we would like to wish her all the best as she continues to be a champion of real, healthy food through her work at modPALEO.   Thank you Kris!


Food Councils Popping Up Across the Carolinas

by Jared Cates, CFSA’s Community Mobilizer

wild hareThe network of food councils across North and South Carolina continues to expand. This past month, a group in Orange County presented their work to develop a food council for the community. The group shared some opportunities, weaknesses and strengths about the Orange County community food system with an audience at an event held at the Chapel Hill Public Library. An analysis of the food system was prepared by graduate students at UNC who performed a food system assessment of Orange County. The group also announced the structure of the council and how it will operate. The group is now taking applications for membership on the food council.

Learn more about the Orange County Food Council



Welcome Mark Dempsey, our new Farm Services Coordinator

Mark DempseyMark grew up in Georgia and moved to North Carolina for the first time to attend Appalachian State University. There he received his BS in Environmental Biology, and then he moved on to receive his MS in Soil Microbiology from Miami University in Ohio. After graduating, Mark worked as a researcher and equipment operator in Penn State’s sustainable agriculture program, focusing on ways to reduce tillage in organic systems and to incorporate or better manage cover crops in both conventional and organic systems. He moved back to western North Carolina with his wife in 2015 and lives Swannanoa.

Say hi to Mark 




Final FSMA Produce Rules Published—Deadlines Loom

by Roland McReynolds, CFSA’s Executive Director

FSMALast week the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released final regulations on the production of fresh fruits and vegetables under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).  The rules reflect several important victories from the last five years of advocacy by the sustainable ag community.  But there will still be compliance challenges ahead for farmers; check out our preliminary analysis here.



QUESTIONS FOR CANDIDATES – Voter’s Guide to Questions on Food and Farm Policy in the Carolinas 


Candidates for office are stepping up. Candidates in North Carolina will make it official by December 21. Republican and Democratic candidates in SC will file by March 2016. NC’s primary is in March 2016, and SC’s is in June. So, now is the time to start asking candidates what policies they will support to promote organic, local agriculture. CFSA has just the tool to help ask the big questions. Check out our Questions for Candidates, revised for the 2016 election season!




The Road to Organic CertificationCFSA_Banner_logos

Are you interested in learning more about the USDA NOP organic certification process? If so, take a walk on the Road to Organic Certification and watch how Candice Howard successfully certifies her sustainable farm and how Bruce Baxter successfully transitions his farm to certified organic.

WATCH the interactive video

This interactive video, funded by the USDA-NOP’s Sound and Sensible Initiative, created in collaboration with CFSA and WILL Interactive, Inc. covers a number of topics including NOP/Organic Certification Basics, the Organic System Plan, the Basics of Transitioning to Certified Organic, Interpreting the NOP Regulations, and many more useful topics to help you through the process.



Emergency Grants for South Carolina Farmers Affected by the Floods

Grant Amount: $500

flooded fields 2013 (3)Who may apply? South Carolina family farmers with farms located in counties subject to disaster declarations by the US Dept. of Agriculture or Federal Emergency Management Agency (see map here) as a result of flooding related to Hurricane Joaquin, and who have suffered hardship as a result may apply.

What can the funds be used for? Relief payments are intended as emergency relief only.  Use of the funds is restricted to household expenses, suchas groceries, home utilities, medical bills, or other household expenses not directly related to the commercialoperation of the farm or ranch.  The funds may not be used for any business expense or investment. This is because Farm Aid’s 501(c)3 status prohibits giving money to businesses.

Learn more and apply for the funds

All applications are due by Friday, December 4th.



Just in time for winter, here are a few of our favorite expert tips from our online Grower’s Toolbox:

EXPERT TIP: How to Use Enterprise Budgets to Make Your Farm More Profitable

EXPERT TIP: Year-End Analysis of Your Farm’s Profitability with Veggie Compass

ASK THE EXPERTS: Winter 2013

This season, CFSA asks about planting mixes, cool season varieties, managing livestock during winter, and crop planning.


Winter Season Extension

by Pat Battle, Living Web Farms




Workshop Series: Fresh Produce Good Agricultural Practices

Dec 16, 2015
Jan 20, 2016
Feb 8, 2016

Working in partnership, North Carolina State University, North Carolina Cooperative Extension, NC Cooperative County Centers, Carolina Farm Stewardship Association (CFSA) and the Center for Environmental Farming Systems – NC Growing Together Project (CEFS/NCGT) will be offering a two-part workshop aimed at providing farmers with the tools to identify hazards on your farm; to prepare a food safety hazard assessment; and to create and implement a custom food safety plan that integrates your farm’s practices while meeting market requirements for GAP certification. From this workshop, participants will be able to proactively build-in contamination prevention strategies and reduce these potential market losses for their own farming practices. This training assumes participants have some basic knowledge of on-farm food safety.


Workshop Locations Across the State:

Mountain Horticultural Crops & Research Center
455 Research Drive Mills River, NC 28759

Dates: December 16 & 17, 2015
Times: 9 AM to 5 PM
Registration Deadline: December 9, 2015

Registration is $25 (check or money order ONLY made payable to Henderson County Cooperative Extension) and includes lunch both days. Space is limited (10-12 participants) and available on a first come, first served basis. For more information or to register, contact Craig Mauney by Wednesday, December 9th at 5pm by phone 828-697-4891 or email rcmauney@ncsu.edu.


Graham, Cherokee, and Clay Counties

Dates: January 20, 2016 & February 3, 2016
Times: 9 AM to 5 PM
Registration Deadline: January 13, 2016

Registration information is coming soon.

Watauga County Agricultural Conference Center, Boone, NC   

Dates: February 8 & 22, 2016 (Snow date of February 29, 2016)
Times: 9 AM to 5 PM
Registration Deadline: January 29, 2016

Registration is $50 (check or money order ONLY made payable to Watauga County Cooperative Extension) and includes lunch both days. Space is limited to 12 participants and available on a first come, first served basis. For more information, contact Richard Boylan at rjboylan@ncsu.edu or call Watauga County Cooperative Extension at 828-264-3061. To register, call Watauga County Cooperative Extension at 828-264-306 before registration deadline of 1/29/16.


This material is based upon work that is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U. S. Department of Agriculture, under award number 2013-68004-20363. 


Learn more or contact Diane_Ducharme@ncsu.edu, 704-250-5402, or James Cooper with the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, james@




Organic Commodities and Livestock Conference: A Training Event for Commercial-Scale Growers


March 7, 2016
8:30 AM-4:15 PM

Mount Olive University Agribusiness Center
Mount Olive, NC


Ready to earn more per acre, reduce your input costs, and tap into emerging markets in sustainable commodity farming? 

The Organic Commodities and Livestock Conference is the place to network with growers and buyers while learning to improve the productivity and profitability of your larger-scale farm. 

Registration opens December 7th! Workshop topics will include organic transition, no-till farming, special intensives on commodity crops including wheat and soy, grazing, generational transition, whole farm planning, growing hemp in the Carolina’s and more.

Interested in sponsorship and/or exhibit hall opportunities at the Organic Commodities and Livestock Conference?  Contact Leah Joyner!



Connect with CFSA

Join us on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/carolinafarmstewards) and Twitter (http://twitter.com/carolinafarm) or contribute to our blog (https://www.carolinafarmstewards.org/blog)!

To join the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, visit: https://www.carolinafarmstewards.org/join/

Renew your membership to CFSA

Related Articles