Local Farms & Food


Indicators
Basic Statistics :: Farms in the Triangle :: Woodland & Forest :: Crops & Livestock
Local Food :: Production and Consumption :: Building a Local Food Economy :: Organic Agriculture
Local Timber Production and Consumption :: Timber Growth :: Timber Sales
Infrastructure Support :: Processing and Sourcing Facilities
Agritourism :: Agritourism Sites :: Agritourism Activities :: Case Studies
Crop- and Forestland Preservation and Conservation :: Present Use Value :: Voluntary Agricultural Districts ::
Conservation Easements :: Farmland Protection Plans & Programs



Triangle Land Conservancy's vision and goals surrounding this benefit
farm-landscape.jpg
Source: http://www.c56technologies.com/images/farm-landscape.jpg


TLC envisions a Triangle Region in which economically viable,
sustainable agricultural communities provide food and forest products to people living right
here in the region.

TLC will support local farms and food by:

  • working with farmers to protect their land with conservation
  • easements, which can help farms stay in business;
  • providing opportunities for education and research on TLC-owned farmland; and,
  • working with partners to connect local growers with local consumers.


Preface


Farmland comprises 25 percent of total acreage in North Carolina, five percent of which is located in the Triangle region. Eighty-four percent of this land is family-owned, much of it in the same family for several generations. Roughly half of these farms are relatively small, 50 acres or less, producing no more than $50,000 in annual sales. Our global food distribution system delivers inexpensive, standardized food to consumers while distancing them from the farmers who grow it. In response to growing consumer demand, a new local food movement is evolving, putting a place and a face on our food. However, we must address significant challenges to ensure that all consumers have access to healthy, local food. The sustainability of food production is what distinguishes "local" food from its large-scale counterpart.

Could the Triangle region feed itself and supply wood to the housing industry with local food and timber available from regional farms? It is difficult to determine how much food and timber sold in the Triangle is grown locally because large-scale food and building supply systems do not track its origin and most consumers do not demand to know. However, this information is fundamental to our understanding of the capacity of our regional producers to satisfy the growing demand for locally-sourced products. An increase in capital, expertise and infrastructure are equally important to enable our producers to grow crops for local consumption in addition to global export.


Despite economic difficulties facing the average farmer, farms provide many benefits to the Triangle's environment and its residents. Some benefits lend themselves to straightforward measurement while others are difficult to quantify. Well-managed farms and associated woodlands enhance our communities by sustaining rural economies that produce food, wood, and other crops with measurable revenue. Local farms supply fresh food to our tables through farmers markets, grocery stores, Community Supported Agriculture programs, restaurants and many community-based organizations.

Farms are also conservation easements, providing ecosystem services such as clean water, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, and educational opportunities. Agritourism serves as a way to connect people with farming and to create positive, outdoor experiences for children. Our case studies show how local food systems can affect a community's economic development. These benefits make farms an important source of wealth in the Triangle and the cornerstone upon which to examine future planning decisions.

Land development is increasing in the Triangle, reducing farm and forestland acreage. In regions where development pressures are high, traditional agriculture may no longer guarantee the viability and profitability of farms. The average age of the North Carolinian farmer is 57-years, quickly approaching retirement and facing uncertainty about the future of the farm. Many farming families cannot afford to pass their land to the younger generation because encroaching residential and commercial development has increased the value of the land, driving up property taxes and reducing net farm income. The growth rate of the Triangle has the potential to fracture agricultural communities. Our farms are vanishing and concern for what the future holds for the next generation of farmers is palpable.


Here we provide an inventory of indicators, or measures, we believe provide insight into the health of local farms and food production in the Triangle region. We admit this inventory in not exhaustive. It serves as the foundation upon which others can build to assess the current and future health of our local farms and forestland.



cows-in-morning.jpg
farm.jpg
market.jpg
Source:http://www.statesymbolsusa.org/IMAGES/Wisconsin/cows-in-morning.jpg
Source: http://www.farmagriculture.com/Images/Products/north%20carolina%20farm.jpg
Source:http://sfc.smallfarmcentral.com/dynamic_content/uploadfiles/38/june-market-table-1.gif



Indicators
Basic Statistics
:: Farms in the Triangle :: Woodland & Forest :: Crops & Livestock
Local Food :: Production and Consumption :: Building a Local Food Economy :: Organic Agriculture
Local Timber Production and Consumption :: Timber Growth :: Timber Sales
Infrastructure Support :: Processing and Sourcing Facilities
Agritourism :: Agritourism Sites :: Agritourism Activities :: Case Studies
Crop- and Forestland Preservation and Conservation :: Present Use Value :: Voluntary Agricultural Districts :: Conservation Easements :: Farmland Protection Plans & Programs