In response to growing demand, Anson County now has a new Area Extension Agent specializing in the field of Local Foods. Dustin Adcock will be developing programs and assisting other area agents to build a stronger and safer food market for producers and consumers.
Adcock served as an agriculture teacher in Union County for five years, operates a market garden and community-supported agriculture program, and is actively involved in his church and community. His expertise is in consumer horticulture along with soils, sustainability, vegetable and fruit production.
Adcock’s role as an Area Agent in Local Foods is the first of its kind in N.C. This means that our county has the potential to develop a program and service like no other and become a model for the rest of the state. Adcock has a great passion and vision for local foods and agriculture.
A large portion of what we eat travels hundreds, if not thousands of miles before reaching our plate. According to the economic research provided by USDA, local food markets and growers have increased four times in the last seven years.
“The majority of all food produced by local growers in Union County is sold in Mecklenburg and surrounding counties, therefore effecting the local economy in a very critical time,” Adcock said. “We must embrace this movement for its healthful, cultural, environmental, and economic benefits.”
So, why should you buy your food locally? While in transportation, fresh produce loses valuable nutrients and flavor. “During the trip from harvest to dinner table, sugars turn to starches, plant cells shrink, and produce loses vitality.” (Living Green, Florida State University)
Local food also supports the local economy and family farms, which are steadily decreasing. Being cognizant of where your food originates and how it’s grown makes you, as a consumer, more aware of your health and the effects of what you eat.
Finally, the products of our local farms make use of valuable land and promote a healthy balance within the ecosystem that is quickly being converted to housing and industry. There is no doubt that purchasing local foods can and will sustain our small towns and counties along with their citizens.
For assistance with your small farm, market, garden, or any other local food production questions please contact Dustin at Anson County Cooperative Extension. Interested in purchasing locally grown food from our new five-county, farmer-owned cooperative? Email your interest to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 704-694-2415.