Mission: The mission of CLFN is to protect and promote a local food system that builds community, supports the local economy, nurtures a healthy environment, and produces healthy, delicious food!
Vision: To strengthen a network of county people who value local food and local food producers.
Elevator speech: “I’m working to strengthen a network of county people who value local food and local food producers.”
We believe that our local food economy is in peril, and steps are required to pull it back into alignment. We respect that there are many choices in how and what to farm just as there are also many choices in how to shop and what to shop for.
Some of our Carteret farmers learned their skills from their parents and grandparents, some learned from books and the internet; all learned from the school of hard knocks - farming in the open weather is often uncontrollable. Sure, you can adapt, but Mother Nature has ultimate control.
Mother Earth is the reason some farmers choose alternative growing techniques. No one in Carteret County is 'certified organic', but some farmers are learning the techniques and hoping consumers will ask about the processes and differences.
All farmers wish to minimize their expenses and chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides are pricey, but not necessarily more or less expensive than compost, natural mulches and OMRI-approved pesticides (OMRI = Organic Materials Review Institute).
You, the end consumer, have the ultimate control.
You may replenish your daily caloric needs by simply eating calories purchased at the cheapest end of the 'food' spectrum (sodas, sugary snacks, drive-thru value meals) or nourish your body in many better ways. "You are what you eat" has real impact. The amino acids from various proteins and the calories from sugars and starches can all be grown for human consumption using different techniques.
If and when you, the end consumer, ask a question about your food, you can choose to make decisions based on the answers you receive. Don't know what answers you should be hearing? Correct answers are changing all the time, but we wish to help you (and us!) learn how to choose local and fresh, local and healthy, local and valuable.
AND YET... the farmers choosing farming techniques known to their parents and grandparents don't cut any corners either! They work amazingly hard to bring the best they can from their farms. Our 'local economy' is strengthened when you shop from their roadside stand or a local restaurant to which they sell.
The dollars you spend for local produce or protein are proven to stay in our local economy - local high school band uniforms, local dentist visits, local taxes, local church functions, local car repair shops. The dollars you spend on foods from distant producers and distant headquarters leave our local economy and benefits distant pocketbooks.
2. Fine Cuisine
3. Environmental Impact
4. Social Justice
5. Food Security
7. Cultural Heritage Preservation
8. Economic Development
“Fresh Local Food” and “Sustainable Local Food Systems” are all important phrases to many folks in our country these days. And great things are happening, not only in big cities and trendy food meccas like NC’s Piedmont but right here in Carteret County.
Carteret Local Food Network exists to help you connect with locally grown and locally produced foods. Food that doesn’t travel thousands of miles is harvested fresher, more nutritious, and even better, often tastes much better!
We continue to find ways to share information and news about community food projects and sources of fresh local food.
Cooperative Extension helps you learn how to grow and cook your own fruits and vegetables; the Master Gardeners have four demonstration gardens (two specialize in home vegetable gardens).
Several markets offer seasonal foods for you to buy what you can’t/ won’t grow.
Here in Carteret County, there are many activities that we should all support and assist:
Carteret Catch assists local fishing families market their products; find local retailers and restaurants serving their fish at www.carteretcatch.org.
As a new growing season approaches, the CLFN salutes all North Carolina growers, gardeners, fishermen, educators, chefs, entrepreneurs, volunteers and others who bring good fresh food to our tables; and we look forward to a bountiful season ahead.
Let’s include helping school children and young adults who participate in FFA and 4-H and encourage farmers to grow more sustainably to minimize our impact on our environment and improve the quality of comestibles for us consumers.