At Pasture to Pantry Food Foundation, we believe in educating and serving our communities through healthy foods cultivated locally by promoting the role of local farms. Our mission is to bring the wholesomeness of fresh food to the people in our towns and neighborhoods. We see farming as way of life, a noble profession, and an art that can restore broken ecosystems and strengthen communities, all while providing quality nutrition. We are dedicated to helping farmers in their entrepreneurial journey and advocating for community wellbeing and food security.
Our foundation supports the local farmers and communities of North Carolina. North Carolinian farmers are dedicated to producing the highest quality food through sustainable farming practices but face difficult challenges that can hamper their success. Soaring land prices, rapid development of residential areas, high capital input, and lack of local agronomic advice are among the challenges that are particular to North Carolina farmers.
The state of North Carolina has a food security problem. According to Feed America, one in every seven people and one in every five children in North Carolina struggles with hunger (“What hunger looks like in North Carolina,” 2019). The average across our state is 14.6% of people who lack that access to food security (“Edgecombe county ranks highest for food insecurity in state,” 2019). The inability to secure or afford foods can make people more likely to experience illnesses, emotional, and mental stress. Over 16,000 people in North Carolina, including children, are living in food deserts. These are areas that lack fresh produce, grocery stores, or farmers’ markets. As result, families rely on convenience stores to find their food. Unlike grocery stores or farmers markets, convenience stores do not typically sell a variety of fresh produce but rather fast food for higher prices (“Hunger Facts”, 2019).
Our Farmers and Ranchers are dedicated to producing the highest quality food through sustainable farming practices. Farming is a way of life, a noble profession, and an art that can restore broken ecosystems, strengthen communities all while providing quality nutrition. However, because of soaring land prices and the excessive financial barriers to entry that many aspiring young framers face, new farming enterprises are struggling to get off the ground. The average age of farmers is almost 58 years old, and the average age of cow/calf producers is over 61 years of age. Nearly one third of all principal farm operators in the U.S. are over age 65. There is a desperate need for new blood in our agricultural system. The lack of economic incentive in market based, production agriculture has driven many young people away from agriculture. Young ag students who don't have a family link to a farm or ranching enterprise find it exceedingly difficult to secure the capital needed to get started in one of these vocations. We are dedicated to helping these you people find creative entrepreneurial solutions and grow profitable and sustainable small businesses. The commodity agricultural model, with its market based prices fails to compensate farmers for quality. The current norms lead to a yield-centric system that encourages overproduction and land abuse, it further exacerbates the problem of low commodity prices, and is of little benefit to consumers or farmers. Part of our work is aimed at changing that by helping farmers develop business models that allow them to focus on quality goods and livestock and ensuring that they are compensated sufficiently to practice sustainable, and humane agriculture. We believe that by helping farmers to market their own products to local markets and exploring entrepreneurial solutions, that there will be room for farms of all sizes and shapes to thrive. Land stewardship, sustainability and humane animal husbandry are central to our philosophy.
"When land becomes so expensive that it is no longer economical to grow food on it, humanity is headed for peril"
Tom Pearson 4th generation Kansas Cattleman and Farmer
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