Local Food is Tasty Business

By Tonia Bendickson - bio l email

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - From food safety scares, to high fuel costs, to high food prices.  A new trend is emerging.  Locally-grown food isn't just a fad anymore.  Two Charlotte entrepreneurs are finding it's a better way of doing business.

The line of shoppers at the Providence Produce stand is proof that locally-grown is in-demand.

For business owner David White, this is a natural extension of his South Charlotte childhood, "I grew up with tomato plants and everything else in the backyard, and we'd take it and sell it in the front yard," he says.

White knows most of his food he sells, by the farmer's name, "There's Clyde, Neal, yeah those blackberries, those are from Ivanhoe farms."  And these heirloom tomatoes, are from just five minutes up the road.

Mark Morgan is a landscaping business owner, turned local farmer.  "We have squash, okra, tomatoes, and cucumbers," he says.

Tucked just steps away from Providence High School, 2.5 acres of family land, being used now to grow local treasures, and provide local jobs.  "It's put some guys to work who might not otherwise have jobs."

"This is definitely an emerging trend," says Dr. Greg Pillar.  He chairs the Environmental Science Department at Queens University.

He says some of push to eat local comes from food scares, and the desire to become less dependent on foreign oil, and he thinks buying local can lead to better health in the long run.

And that's good for business, too.  Providence Produce customer Michelle Jones certainly believes local is healthier, and tastier, too.

Michelle was a first-time customer at the produce stand, there.  She'd been disappointed by some peaches she'd purchased at the grocery store.  Many grocery stores do offer locally-grown fruits and veggies.  Just check the labels.