FAMILY FARMS ARE ESSENTIAL TO A STRONG COMMUNITY
- North Carolina leads the nation in farm loss, despite its No. 1 industry being agriculture.
- North Carolina farmers are aging. The average age of a farmer is 57; less than 5% are younger than 35.
- Financial barriers deter new farmers. Farmland is increasingly consolidated into fewer and larger farms, limiting the opportunities for young and beginning farmers to find affordable land.
Agriculture contributes to healthy environments and viable economies, as well as a well-fed public. But many small farms face increasing difficulty.
FAMILY FARMS SUPPORT THE LOCAL ECONOMY
- Local markets are on the rise. Direct sales to consumers, such as farmers markets and CSA shares, grew nearly 60 percent between 2002 to 2007.
- More farmers are selling direct. The number of farms selling directly to the community also increased 21%.
- New markets are in demand. Farmers are increasingly seeking profitable opportunities to sell their abundant crops.
Farmers markets are one of the most direct ways that consumers can support local food access and farmer livelihoods.
HUNGER IN THE MIDST OF PLENTY
- 1 in 5 adults and 1 in 4 children in North Carolina suffer from food insecurity
- 160,000 people in North Carolina receive emergency food assistance every week.
Despite being the 8th largest agricultural producer in the country, food insecurity in North Carolina (17.3%) is higher than the national average (14%)
- Nearly 1 in 3 North Carolina adults are overweight or obese, and the state ranks 7th highest in childhood obesity among children aged 2-4 years.
- In 2011, more than 2.5 million North Carolina residents suffered from obesity-related illnesses, including diabetes, arthritis and cancer.
- 75% of African Americans
- 69% of Native Americans
- 62% of Caucasians
Approximately two-thirds of all North Carolina deaths are preventable, due largely to inadequate fruits and vegetables, lack of physical activity, and poor diet choices.