WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- The Feast DownEast is working to build a sustainable local economy by supporting the efforts of local farmers and their produce. Today, the organization held a conference to meet with farmers and buyers to educate both on how they can have a brighter future.
"We need to invest in our local community, to build our community," program director Jane Steigerwald said,
The first ever regional conference hosted both those who buy local produce as well as farmers from across the Cape Fear. The focus was to help them better connect.
"We're working at the local level in southeastern North Carolina to help these small farmers build their businesses and farm capacity," Steigerwald said.
Ali Callahan with Wilmington food store Tidal Creek Co-op says that their business buys locally for many reasons.
"Tidal Creek supports buying local products because we believe it enhances our community," Callahan said. "Not only does it put money back in the pockets of the producers, but it's also just what our customers want."
Joyce Bowman works with her sister Carol Jackson on their farm. Bowman says when folks buy from local farmers, they can count on the product being fresh.
"When you get something from California, you don't know how long it has been picked," Bowman said. "We want something that we know the farmer picked maybe this morning. Maybe he picked it yesterday. We don't know, but we want something that's fresh.">
And Jackson says if you're worried about variety, she's got you covered.
"If I look in a seed catalog, and I see something new, I will attempt to grow it," Jackson said.
For more information on how you can get involved with Feast DownEast and support local farmers, visit http://www.feastsoutheastnc.org/.