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This has not been an easy year for farming in the Carolinas. In every season, in most of our region, weather conditions were the opposite of what was needed for successful crops.
And as happened with Joaquin the same time last year, a devastating tropical weather system, this time Hurricane Matthew, pummeled a wide swath of the Carolinas. Accurate estimates of the damage from this catastrophe are slow in coming, but the stories and pictures show devastation in a historically agricultural region. Flooding consumed Princeville, NC—the first African-American-chartered town in the U.S., founded after the Civil War by formerly enslaved farm laborers—for the second time in 17 years. One of the Carolina’s pioneering organic farms, Black River Organic Farm, was completely inundated. farmer Stefan Hartmann was one of the first members of CFSA, and was personally responsible for launching the local food movement in Southeastern NC. Hundreds more farms, and tens of thousands more people, suffered similar losses.
Yet amid the heart-break there were reasons to be inspired as neighbors and communities banded together to support one another. For example, Black River customers launched an online campaign to raise small contributions to support the farm. In phone calls with affected members in the weeks after the disaster, CFSA staff heard again and again stories of people pitching in to help others who had suffered even worse, and of courage and resilience as farmers focused themselves on getting back in business.
You have to be an optimist to be a successful sustainable farmer, and this optimism yields not just delicious food and rich soils, but inspiration for others that care about vibrant communities and a healthy environment. For the past six weeks, we have been thrilled to be sharing with you stories to highlight some of the dedicated members of CFSA who inspire us.
These stories have included farmers across the Carolinas who are restoring degraded lands through regenerative organic farming practices, driven by a commitment to healing the damage that industrial-scale food and farming has wrought on the landscape and on people. Entrepreneurs working hand-in-hand with sustainable farmers to make healthy local food available to more people, and to educate consumers about the value of being connected to agriculture, while helping those farmers make a better living. And passionate advocates who are putting issues of food security, farm labor conditions, food waste and more on the public agenda in the Carolina’s conventional ag heartland.
Inspiration We All Need
Through their work, CFSA members are changing the trajectory of the food system, and we are proud to be a part of their incredible efforts. By providing educational opportunities through conferences, workshops and the Lomax Incubator Farm; by providing one-on-one help for farmers and food businesses to overcome the challenges of launching and growing their operations; by leading communities to organize themselves and find their voice in public policy, CFSA supports innovators and innovations that bring to reality our shared vision of a sustainable food system in the Carolinas that is good for the consumer, good for the farmer and good for the land.
We hope you will take inspiration from these stories as you continue your contributions to a better agriculture future. And we hope that the inspiration will include making a financial contribution to CFSA during our end-of-year annual campaign.
Your generous donation to CFSA is a deeply meaningful way to ensure the network of support for local organic farmers in our region stays strong and grows stronger.
Working together, we can make it possible for more and more families to have local, organic food on their tables from farmers that share your values.
Thank you for being a part of the change we all want to see in the world.
Roland McReynolds, Executive Director
Please give generously.
You can donate online at carolinafarmstewards.org/give
or mail a check to CFSA, PO Box 448, Pittsboro, NC 27312
or call us at 919-542-2402
To read the seven inspiring member stories we have shared this year, click here.
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