Agriculture contributes to healthy environments and viable economies, as well as a well-fed public. But many small farms face increasing difficulty.
- 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.
Farmers markets are one of the most direct ways that consumer can support local food access and farmer livelihoods.
- Local markets are on the rise. Direct sales to consumers, such as farmers markets and CSA shares, grew nearly 60% between 2002 and 2007.
- More farmers are selling direct. The number of farms selling directly to the consumer also increased 21%.
- New markets are in demand. Farmers are increasingly seeking profitable opportunities to sell their abundant crops.
Despite being the 8th largest agricultural producer in the country, food insecurity in North Carolina (17.3%) is higher than the national average (14%).
- 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
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.
- 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 old.
- In 2011, more than 2.5 million North Carolina residents suffered from obesity-related illnesses, including diabetes, arthritis, and cancer.
Though well-intentioned, food bank donations often include an abundance of processed foods that fall short of dietary recommendations.
Minority and low-income populations are disproportionately affected by obesity or being overweight.
- 75% of African Americans
- 69% of Native Americans
- 62% Caucasians