Local farmers discuss challenges

Local farmers discuss challenges

ROANOKE, VA. -           In a world of convenience, many of us don't stop to think where our food comes from. But here in southwest Virginia, farmers want you to get to know them, and their products. Jim Monroe, owner of Greenbrier Nurseries, believes everyone should support local agriculture. "There's just an opportunity for young families and people that have health issues," said Monroe. "To learn where their food comes from and to avoid the "big AG," all the processed, and antibiotics, and the unhealthy things that are in all of our food."

Local farmers in today's market face all kinds of challenges. In an effort to learn about those issues, LEAP (Local Environmental Agriculture Project) partnered with the Virginia Cooperative Extension to discuss the issues with local farmers. Maureen Best, Executive Director of LEAP, says some of those issues include: access to land, farm transition, supporting entry farmers and beginner farmers, and having a high enough price for the products that are being grown to cover cost of production.

The number one problem they found is profitability. Monroe says, when you purchase local food from local farmers, it goes a long way. "Those dollars stay in the community," said Monroe. "There's been a lot of studies done that keeping dollars in the community, the impact that it has on all levels of the economy, it's huge."

Farmers are encouraging you to think more about the product rather than convenience when purchasing your food. LEAP will hold two more Farmer Listening Sessions. The next one will be on Monday at 6pm at the Franklin Center for Advanced Learning in Rocky Mount.


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