SEED Foundation aims to promote locally grown foods

  • Posted: Wednesday, June 19, 2013 11:46 a.m.

A newly formed nonprofit, The SEED Foundation of North Carolina, aims to develop and promote local food and farming and spearhead local food campaigns, a news release said.

SEED stands for SouthEastern Economic Development.


Based in Salisbury, the foundation has teamed up with FoodRoutes Networks’ national campaign, Buy Fresh Buy Local, according to the news release.

Jon Barber, a Rowan County commissioner, is chairman of the foundation’s board of directors and filed its articles of incorporation. Barber runs a farm in western Rowan, along with My Farm Fresh MarketPlace on South Main Street and Mobile Farm Fresh, a mobile farmers market.

Organizers hope “farm systems” will strengthen local communities, grow the local agriculture economy, and protect the environment in North Carolina. Members of The SEED Foundation will include area farmers, merchants that promote the sale of locally grown produce, farmers markets, co-ops, area restaurants, and churches, according to the news release.

The goal of The SEED Foundation is to develop an understanding of the entire food system that includes agricultural production, consumption, waste management, food security, and healthy outcomes, the news release said.

Currently, The SEED Foundation will serve the Piedmont Region with future plans to expand throughout the state.

“The SEED Foundation is essentially an economic development commission and agribusiness council for agriculture. Our efforts will lessen the burdens of local and state government in their efforts to promote the public purposes of creating jobs, increasing the tax base, and improving our quality of life. Farming is valued as central to our heritage and our future,” Joe Fowler, a SEED Foundation board member, said in the news release.

The SEED Foundation will work with Mobile Farm Fresh of North Carolina to promote locally grown foods in schools, restaurants and elsewhere, and on educational projects focused on healthy eating and living, the news release said.

According to the news release, the foundation will work with counties and municipalities to support agriculture-related economic development and jobs, and it will provide leadership and technical expertise to communities and organizations that want to work together on such initiatives.

Initial efforts will focus on existing farmers, beginning farmers, and war veterans turning to farming as a career, the news release said. The foundation will identify funding sources, provide assistance with grants and low-interest loans, and support marketing and education efforts that teach good agriculture practices, as well as school and community gardens.

The SEED Foundation will be the first chapter of Buy Fresh Buy Local in North Carolina. Buy Fresh Buy Local is part of the nonprofit FoodRoutes Network, an international nonprofit dedicated to revitalizing local food systems.

“Bringing The SEED Foundation on as a Buy Fresh Buy Local Chapter is a natural fit, as our organizations share a common vision – to strengthen the critical connection between farmers and consumers and support local and regional food systems. We are excited to be adding a new chapter to our network and the first Buy Fresh Buy Local chapter in North Carolina,” Denise Sheehan, program coordinator at FoodRoutes Network, said in the news release.

The SEED Foundation plans to conduct a Funds to Farms fundraising and membership campaign later this year.

To find out more about The SEED Foundation of North Carolina, visit its website at www.SEEDFoundationNC.com

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