North Carolina beginning farmers learn marketing tools to increase access to healthier foods
Many of North Carolina’s new and beginning farmers lack prior agricultural experience. Still, growing demand for local foods and sustainability has driven continued interest in small-scale farming, providing opportunities for a diverse group of young people to enter farming and associated food businesses.
The primary challenges to new producers and beginning farmers include access to land, capital and farm business planning training and support. As land access continues to be an issue for growers in urban areas, growers are making do with the limited space they have access to for crop production. These challenges result in a need for training for new farmers seeking knowledge and connections to resources that will help them succeed in small-scale urban food production and marketing.
Through North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University’s Urban Farm School course, 11 new and beginning small farmers received research-based training on small-scale market gardening practices. The 12-week course concluded with participants harvesting and selling their grown produce at a farmers market. All participants increased or anticipate increasing their revenue due to the program. Based on survey results, 88% of participants noted that participating in this training will afford their communities greater access to affordable, healthy food choices.
Link to full statement on website: http://landgrantimpacts.tamu.edu/impacts/show/5803