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Young Farmers in the Field due to Interest in Local Food

Summary of Story by Kate Elizabeth Queram, STAR NEWS ONLINE, 4/27/14

A.J. Carroll, graduate from N.C. State University, returned home to Brunswick County the day after graduation to begin working at Old Oakes Farm, her families business.

The interest for growing produce and providing meat to local consumers is gaining popularity for many recent college graduates in North Carolina. Farmers are capitalizing on selling meat and produce to consumers directly. They are doing this via farmers markets and community-supported agriculture programs. The majority of the farmers interested in this nontraditional way of farming are in their 20s and 30s.

Not only does Carroll farm traditional crops with her father, but she also runs a pork business with her fiancé. “It’s definitely a new wave. A lot of people want to eat fresh, they want to eat local, and my pork has no preservatives, no nitrates, and I’m selling bacon to these people they can’t buy at the stores.” – Carroll.

Some young farmers are entering the business without family connections to agriculture. This can get extremely costly and is a risky move. However, organizations such as Feast Down East, help small-scale farmers build and sustain farms then sell their crops to local markets.

By keeping food local, farmers are going to make a better profit on the food they grow. This is making it an increasingly more attractive profession to younger farmers.

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