Every Thursday morning vendors set up a farmers market at the Waterford Shops in Belville. But today was a little different, with an increased focus on buying local. "We like to support businesses in our area." said Terry Grillo, Executive Director of the North Brunswick Chamber of Commerce. Young and old came out thursday to check out the farmers market. There was a little bit of everything, from purses and llamas to plants and produce. But the focus this day was trying to get the word out about the importance of buying local products. "We work in seven counties to support our local farmers," said UNCW professor Leslie Hosfeld, "and to create a 'Buy Local' campaign where we have more of our local food in our school system and in our universities and all our institutions in our seven-county region. This effort is called Feast on the Southeast. "We're trying to get farmers into schools and large institutions like hospitals," Jane Steigerwald, Feast on the Southeast's assistant program director, said. "We're trying to get the farmers to work with local restaurants and also educate people on the importance of buying local." Produce wasn't the only local product for sale. Ronald Kastner says his beef business benefits from the buy local push because it gives him better exposure to customers. "Our biggest venue is the farmers market," Kastner said. "Even though we have the store on carolina beach road we do more out here with the local people out here at the market place." Organizers say buying local not only helps local businesses, but the area economy in general by keeping more of our food dollars in the region. They also say it increases access to affordable and healthy foods. For more information about Feast on the Southeast and how and where you can buy local, visit http://www.feastsoutheastnc.org.
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