Gov. Perdue on Sustainable Local Food Economy: ‘Tell me what you need’

May 12, 2009 at 5:28 pm 4 comments

Governor Bev Perdue pledged her full support Tuesday for building a sustainable local food economy for North Carolina during remarks at the Farm to Fork Summit in Raleigh.

“I’m on your team. Tell me what you need to grow this whole new industry,” she said to a large gathering of sustainable farmers and agricultural officials, activists, chefs, entrepreneurs and community advocates from across the state. . “If you need a Sustainable Agriculture Council, you tell me… I understand..I will join with you.”

“We are a diverse agricultural community and I want to let everyone know it’s important to have consumers like me make it a priority to buy locally and buy sustainably,” Perdue said at the McKimmon Conference and Training Center on the N.C. State University campus.

“You are beginning to change the tide, directing the links between local agriculture and jobs and the economy. You all are red hot. Finally people across the state and the country are beginning to realize you are red hot.”

Perdue spoke proudly of the community garden at the Governor’s Mansion which supplies fresh produce for her household, surplus food for “people in need” and new skills for prison inmates who till the soil. She said young people who visit the garden are learning where food comes from.

The Governor also has a garden at her private home in New Bern. “I’m not the best gardener in the world, I won’t compete with you all, but I’ll eat my tomatoes when they come in.”

“The healthier we eat and the more we exercise the healthier we are as a people,” she said. “You bring down our healthcare costs and put a lot of people to work and that’s pretty cool derivatives from an industry like yours.”

Participants supported a series of “game changers” to work toward a local sustainable food economy, including:

  • Launch a campaign to encourage N.C. consumers to spend 10% of their food budget on local, sustainable food.
  • Develop a Farm to School pre-service teacher training module/model through the UNC system.
  • Establish a N.C. Sustainable Local Food Policy Council (legislation is pending in the N.C. General Assembly).
  • Establish a community garden in every N.C. community.
  • Establish a N.C. Food Corps (like AmeriCorps) to educate and mentor 15-25 year olds about sustainable food, food systems, food justice and diversity issues.
  • Develop a N.C. Direct Marketing Network to enhance local efforts to sell to consumers at Farmers Markets and CSAs associated with workplaces, schools, campuses, hospitals, communities, etc.
  • Support the Feed the Fort Initiative to provide sustainable local farm products to soldiers and all personnel at Ft. Bragg, and use this as a model for small and large institutional food services and retail sales.
  • Develop a Local Foods Community Outreach Campaign to expand access to, and nutritional education about, fresh, local, healthy foods to low income communities, seniors, people with disabilities and all populations that would benefit from more access and information.
  • Develop a Food Safety and Security Commission to eliminate disproportionate regulatory impacts on small-scale food production, processing and marketing.
  • Review and promote local, county and state policies, ordinances and statutes to encourage farmland preservation, land transfer rights, land leasing and farm incubation to encourage more sustainable farms.

The summit was convened by the Center for Environmental Farming Systems at N.C. State. All recommendations and reports will be posted to

Entry filed under: Events, Politics/ Policy, Sustainable Food.

No more excuses Tour d’Coop 2009

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Daniel Whittaker  |  May 12, 2009 at 7:04 pm

    I’m grinning from ear to ear! As a local business owner who’s entire concept depends on sustainability (food the focus) I’m excited to hear we have support to support our local economy. Keeping it simple and local is one of the core concepts of becoming truly sustainable.

    Hopefully she covers every business from the growth to the waste cycle of food’s life. Congrats to everyone who worked so diligently on this.

    • 2. sustainablegrub  |  May 12, 2009 at 9:36 pm


      I thought it was pretty amazing, and worth getting on the record so we can hold her to it. I just checked out your web site, looks like a great green business plan; I’ve added you to the blogroll.

      Dee Reid

  • […] a series of regional meetings across the state, which culminated in a Farm-to-Fork Summit for a Sustainable Local Food Economy, sponsored by the Center for Environmental Systems, N.C. State, A & T University and others May […]

  • […] a series of regional meetings that culminated in a statewide Farm-to-Fork Summit in Raleigh in May at which sustainable farmers, chefs, advocates and agricultural officials examined steps needed to […]


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