County Extension Director
N.C. Cooperative Extension
Gaston County Center
Joanna Massey Lelekacs
Raleigh, NC 27695
Year 1 Project Plans and Stories
|Chatham County - School Garden|
|Gaston County - Develop a Local Foods Strategic Plan that is Supported by the Community|
|Guilford County - Community Garden|
|Lee, Moore & Richmond Counties - Partner Presentation on Local Foods and Farm Tour|
|Lenoir County - Farmers' Market Revitalization|
|Swain County - Farmers' Market Revitalization|
Year 2 Project Plans and Stories
|Cleveland County – Building Community Awareness and Involvement in the Local Food System|
|Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians – Farmers' Market|
|Forsyth County – Increasing Awareness of Community Garden/Farm|
|Forsyth County/GreenXscapes – Community/Educational Garden|
|Greene County – Farmers' Market|
|Montgomery County – Farm Tour|
Other CBFS Efforts
SARE PDP Extension & Community Partnerships
Gaston County: Local Food Projects
- Increased partnerships and collaboration between stakeholders to develop a stronger local
- Increased consumer outreach and education on local foods.
- Greater understanding of the strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for components of
the local food economy.
The end goal of this project is to develop a local foods strategic plan that is supported by the community. In April 2010, Cooperative Extension organized a community based foods advisory committee with representation from the chamber, health community, churches, schools, and agriculture. As a first step, this committee agreed to survey various components of the local food economy and conduct educational oureach to determine interest and gather ideas.
The project increased awareness about local foods by running Farm Bureau sponsored ads and getting articles placed about local markets and a new CSA. Also, the Mt. Holly market hosted a county farm festival drawing 500 paying guests to enjoy local foods and music.
Focus groups and interviews were held with Gaston EDC, potential institutional buyers, and farmers. Farmers supported, and the County approved a farmland protection plan. As an outgrowth of the partnerships that were formed, Caromont Hospital provided financial support to help expand Cooperative Extension’s school gardening program.
- Foothills Fresh
- Gaston Economic Development Corporation
- Gaston County Schools
- CaroMont Hospital
- Gaston Together
- Mount Holly Farmers Market
- Gaston Farmers Market
- Gaston Cattlemen's Association
- NC Cooperative Extension
- High interest in local foods from consumers and community leaders
- Not many existing or new farmers are ready to expand or try new approaches
- We need greater participation from the farming community in order to identify potential success for community plan.
- Increased consumer demand for local foods as measured by market traffic and new CSA
- County support for farmland protection plan
- Development of local foods partnership leading to expanded gardening program & advisory committee
- May 14th Home Grown Gaston Celebration
- New and small growers education programs
- Explore cold storage, farm incubator, and community value-added and marketing center
Funding for this initiative provided through the USDA, Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Professional Development Program.