Why is it important to save farming in Western North Carolina?
Quality of Life:
When farms are kept in agriculture it maintains our long standing agrarian heritage in Buncombe County and a quality of life that everyone enjoys. Fields and woodlands are visually, spiritually and emotionally pleasing to human beings. The local farm also contributes to our health and well-being thru cleaner air and water, with less impact to the environment because of shorter transportation routes to market. Rural working landscapes are an integral part of our heritage that should be preserved for future generations. If we do nothing to save our agricultural areas we lose the rustic landscapes and pastoral beauty that first attracted people here to Buncombe County.
To that end, Sunrise Farm has entered into the Buncombe County Voluntary Agriculture District Preservation Program (VAD) in order to show our commitment to keeping the land as a working farm. The purpose of the program is to slow the decline of farmland in Buncombe County thru commitments from farmers to keep their land as a working farm and not develop it for other non-farm purposes.
Most produce available in our local grocery stores comes from an average of 1500 miles away. The transportation of produce adds significantly to the environmental impact of the product and its net impact on our planet thru fossil fuel consumption and the emission of greenhouse gasses. Most produce today has been genetically modified and grown specifically for its uniform shelf appeal and ability to transport long distances, often ripening on the truck, and not necessarily grown for the taste.
Supporting the Grow Local movement helps to reduce carbon emissions from transportation and supports local farmers. Supporting local farmers keeps local farm land and the local farm economy in operation, which in turn helps keep that land in its natural, beautiful state that we all enjoy to drive by and look at. It is very difficult for local farmers to compete with the massive, capital intensive farming operations in places like the Midwest and California. If farmers cannot make a living off the land, the farm is at risk for non-farm related development, and over-development, and we all lose something in the beauty of living here. Local Farmers Markets and Community Supported Agriculture programs help keep that from happening.
Growing local also may offer some food safety as it can provide some security should our fuel or transportation system be disrupted at some point in the future. Attempting to become more self sufficient as a local community, and keeping the knowledge and ability to produce our own food for future generations, is a good thing. It’s like an insurance policy.
Most importantly, growing local means you can grow a much wider variety of fruits and vegetables using heirloom seeds that are open pollinated and not genetically modified, and that protects the bio-diversity of our seeds and food chain.
Creekside Farms will begin its own CSA program in the spring of 2017 for all Cliffs at Walnut Cove residents and members.