Center Spearheads FarmerFresh Gathering
03/30/10 (13:00 - 15:00)
The Center for the Environment is gathering community leaders and interested citizens from 3-5 p.m. on Tuesday, March 30, at the Center facility on the Catawba College campus to discuss a program called FarmerFresh.
It is a “virtual” farmers’ market, which uses the Internet to connect farmers and other small-scale specialty food producers to customers. The food producers list their products on a virtual co-op website, and customers, such as schools, restaurants and food retailers, select the items they want to purchase. The co-op delivers the products to the consumers.
The featured speaker will be Tim Will, winner of the 2009 Purpose Prize for creating an online ordering system that helps make this connection. He successfully implemented the program in Rutherford County.
“I started contacting folks to help them understand they didn’t need 100 acres to be successful,” he says. “We’re trying to show people how they can grow organic and pesticide-free with high flavor. Don’t go for yield but quality instead of quantity.”
The network has grown from 35 farmers in 2008 to 90 this year. They grow high-value crops like heirloom tomatoes, fennel, leeks, garlic and Swiss chard.
The meeting at the Center for the Environment facility is open to anyone but focused on Cabarrus, Davidson, Davie, Montgomery, Rowan or Stanly counties. Its purpose is to determine if there’s an interest in this five-county region to create a FarmerFresh program here.
Visit www.farmersfreshmarket.org for an example of a Virtual Co-op.