Working to End Food Deserts in North Carolina

February 28, 2014

triangle land conservancy food desert

“More than 410,000 people live in 171 food deserts across North Carolina” – Jorge Valencia for WUNC

North Carolina has a serious problem with food deserts, defined as “an area without access to affordable fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat milk and other foods that make up the full range of a healthy diet” in an article published by WUNC. Food deserts create a host of diet and health related problems, and the NC House Committee has created its first ever House Committee on Food Desert Zones to finally address the issue.

The committee is meeting four times before the summer legislative session in May, and is looking at a host of options for shrinking and eliminating the number of citizens living in a food desert, including “collaborating with businesses, public health groups and local governments.” The goal? Reach both rural and urban food deserts and provide North Carolinians with options for fresh food and fruits.

Urban and rural? That’s right. Just because an area is surrounded by land does not mean that fruits and vegetables are easy to find. Triangle Land Conservancy is working towards reducing both types of deserts with our Local Farms and Foods Initiative. We support agricultural programs and farmers markets to ensure that our region can grow fresh, local food for generations to come and that they are readily available to all Triangle residents. TLC holds protective conservation easements on farms around the Triangle, and our Irvin Nature Preserve & Farm serves as an educational incubator for small farmers, beekeepers, and non-profits addressing hunger.

Our newest conservation easement was purchased last December on the 98 acre Lindley Farm, now preserved in perpetuity. An active dairy farm that has been in the Lindley family since 1922, the property includes pastureland and a tributary that joins South Fork Cane Creek. The Lindley’s have worked to expand their dairy to include the production of cheeses and cheesecakes to be sold at local farmers’ market.

TLC looks forward to working with communities, government agencies, and non-profits around the Triangle to continue working towards a food desert-free future.

Are you interested in checking out your local farmers’ markets? The Cary Downtown Farmers Market, Duke Raleigh Hospital Farmers Market, Midtown Farmers Market, Raleigh Downtown Farmers Market, State Farmers Market, and the Chatham Mills Farmers Markets are all re-opening in April, while the Durham Farmers Market and Wake Forest Farmers Market are extending their hours! For the complete guide, click here.

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