Monday, July 26, 2010

Mobile Processing Unit May Help Farmers

See this morning's article on mobile poultry processing units in the News and Observer:

There are currently two Mobile Poultry Processing Units that can be rented by area farmers - one located in McDowell County is managed by Foothills Family Farms in Old Fort, NC, not Flat Rock (as the article mentions). More information can be found here: . Email inquiries to

The second mobile processing unit is at Wild Turkey Farms in Salisbury, NC. For more information on the Mobile Processing Unit at Wild Turkey Farms email

NCSU Hands-on Farmstead Cheesemaking Short Course

November 30-December 2, 2010: 7th annual NCSU Hands-on Farmstead Cheesemaking Short Course at NC State University in Raleigh, NC.

Download the short course brochure for the complete agenda and registration information:

Registration is limited to 20 participants. This course ALWAYS fills up fast (likely within a few weeks from today), so don't wait to register!

Contact Gary Cartwright at 919-513-2488 for more information

Thursday, July 22, 2010

N.C. Cooperative Extension Partners with 10% Local Food Campaign

North Carolina Cooperative Extension in Gaston county will be supporting a new statewide effort to build North Carolina’s local food economy - entitled the 10% Campaign. The campaign is an effort to encourage North Carolina consumers to spend 10 percent of their food dollars on foods from local sources.

Through the campaign website – -- consumers and businesses will pledge to spend 10 percent of their food dollars locally, purchasing products from area farmers and food producers. Campaign participants will receive weekly email reminders to report how much money they spent on local food. The website will show consumers how their dollars spent on local foods grows.

North Carolinians spend about $35 billion a year on food. If each person spent just 10 percent on food locally – roughly $1.05 per day – then approximately $3.5 billion would be available in the state’s economy.

The Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) and Cooperative Extension are partners in the campaign. Extension, based at N.C. State and N.C. A&T State universities, serves all the state’s 100 counties and the Eastern Band of the Cherokee. CEFS is a partnership of N.C. State, N.C. A&T State and the N.C. Department of Agriculture & Consumer Sciences that provides research, outreach and education on sustainable education and promotes local food economies in North Carolina.

Cooperative Extension’s local foods coordinator will help connect consumers and food producers and support local businesses and organizations who want to spend 10 percent of their food dollars locally. Local food coordinators will personally contact businesses and organizations that register through the website to help them develop a plan for purchasing local products. In addition, the 10% Campaign website provides a “Find Local Foods” page with links to help consumers find local food and farm products in their own communities. A “Learn More” page includes links to information on a variety of partner organizations, such as Slow Food USA and Eat Smart, Move More NC. There are also links to educational information on topics ranging from how to set up a workplace community-supported agriculture program to how to cook seasonal, local products.

To find out what’s happening with local foods in your county, visit your Cooperative Extension website at ( A link to the Local Foods page can be found in the left hand column of your county center’s home page.

The Compass Group of Charlotte, the world’s largest food service provider, is leading the way in the campaign by pledging to purchase 10 percent of its food from local sources. Compass Group is developing a parallel model farm-to-institution buying program and will purchase 10 percent of the produce it serves in its North Carolina accounts from local farmers in the state.

Funding for the 10% Campaign and website is provided by Golden LEAF.

Among the Hmong

With an estimated 15,000, North Carolina is believed to have the fourth largest Hmong population in the U.S. Most of the N.C. Hmong live in Alexander, Burke, Caldwell, Catawba, with a few in Lincoln, Stanley and Gaston counties.

As a result of a three-year grant obtained from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement, the United Hmong Association (UHA) of Catawba County teamed up with N.C. A&T State University and NC Cooperative Extension to form HRAPP - Hmong Rural Agricultural Partnership Program (HRAPP). The three-year grant program (scheduled to wrap up by the end of 2010) has included two multiple week, intensive growers schools, several educational field days and workshops, individual farmer consults, inseption of a 1-acre demonstration farm with a high tunnel and community gardens that support six Hmong families. To learn more about this relatively new farming culture in North Carolina, check out this article from the Charlotte Observer:

Friday, July 9, 2010

Gaston County Parks & Rec Seeking Out Produce Vendors!

Gaston County Parks is celebrating Park and Recreation Month by holding several fun activities throughout the month of July. To see all the event they have planned, go to

The final event of the month is a one-time Farmers' Market in Dallas Park (i.e. Biggerstaff Park) on Friday, July 30th from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. Gaston Parks and Recreation is currently seeking out vendors who have produce to sell. If you are interested, in participating in this one-time market, contact Gaston County Parks and Recreation at 704-922-2160 for a vendor application.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Organic No-Till Corn & Soybean Production Workshop

Thursday, July 15, 20104:30 – 7 p.m.
Piedmont Research Station and Hoffner Dairy Farm, Salisbury, N.C.
Registration Fee: FREE
Coordinator: Molly Hamilton
Instructors: Dr. Chris Reberg-Horton, Dr. Julie Grossman, Mary Parr, George Place

This is an on-farm workshop hosted by NC State University that will demonstrate no-till/roll-kill practices that can be used in organic corn and soybean production. The technique for planting corn and soybeans into roll-killed cover crops will be discussed, and potential follow-up weed control methods will be demonstrated. Crop yields, fertility and crop management will also be discussed, as well as research results from the previous year. To register, please contact Molly Hamilton at or 828-273-1041.