Upon my arrival in the area, many of the folks around the county spent the first several weeks telling me about all the neat things going on in the area.
While I’ve seen many of the items they mentioned done in other areas, at the first mention of Pilot Mountain Pride, my interest was piqued.
You see, I became a HUGE fan of the local food movement several years ago after watching a documentary that illustrated the benefits of eating locally.
So I’ve spent the past several months bugging the people involved with the center about doing a story. Which is completely selfish, if you must know, since other scribes here at the paragraph factory have well documented Pilot Mountain Pride.
But I was insistent, so the powers-that-be here at the paper let me do the story with the stipulation that I find a new angle.
No problem. Don’t know what it will be, but I’ll find something.
The new angle?
Folks over at the center are trying to make it even easier for individuals to purchase from them and are working on putting into place a system where individuals can sign up for an email list and order online. Which seems to have some support in the community, judging from the number of phone messages I had this morning.
So I called Lewis Draughn over at Pilot Mountain Pride this morning and told him that people seemed to be interested.
“That’s just great,” he said. “We’d love to be able to sell more to individuals. That’s what it’s all about, making sales for these farmers!”
What impressed me and had me worrying people to death about doing the story is the fact that the idea for Pilot Mountain Pride, while deceptively simple, is pure genius!
Since most farmers are too small to sell their products to grocery stores, and would have to jump through a lot of hoops in order to do so, why not build an aggregation center where farmers can become certified in Good Agricultural Practices and bring their produce to be marketed with that of other small farmers?
The result? Small farmers now have a way to market their products, allowing their farms to remain viable.
Another result? Local residents can go to the grocery store or contact the center and purchase fresh, locally-grown food. And anyone who’s ever eaten a leaf of lettuce or a tomato picked from a garden knows that fresh food tastes better. And it’s more nutritious, to boot.
Genius, I tell you. Genius!
But it’s not just the fact that a brilliant idea got off the ground that impressed me. It’s the fact that everyone involved had the same goal in mind, and worked cooperatively to make it a reality.
You don’t know how rare that is, in my experience.
So when you pick up your first purchase from the center, give the credit to a lot of hard work by a lot of individuals.
Keith Strange is a staff reporter with The Mount Airy News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1929.