Hi, my name is Sam. I want to thank you personally for visiting my website. I would like to take this opportunity to tell you more about myself, and why I launched WNCCoop.com.
I grew up in the lowcountry of South Carolina, where we considered fried chicken, collard greens, and corn bread a staple food. I remember as a child passing many fields full of peas, corn, peanuts, and watermelons…just to name a few. My grandfather raised his own chickens, and taught me how to clean them when I was about 6 years old. After we cleaned it, we ate it. There was no ‘shortage’ of food. Instead, there was often a surplus! I remember paying 25 cents for watermelons…and that’s if you’re neighbor wasn’t giving them away!
Yet even back in the 80’s, it was becoming evident that farming, as we knew it, was undergoing a drastic change. As the years passed, backyard gardens came to be considered a mere hobby and people were more intent on collecting the complete set of a happy meal toy series. Our focus as a society made a major shift from quality food to quick food. Grocery store shelves converted with quick, cheap meals. Research labs focused heavily on how to make those quick, cheap meals last on the shelf as long as possible. It would be more than a decade before Americans would see the detrimental impact these new food choices had on our health.
In 1994, genetically modified foods hit the market. This, along with other questionable food practices, had led many including myself, to question the morals and ethics behind food production. Over the years, social media has made food manufacturing more transparent, to the benefit of the consumer. Food quality in the form of production and flavor, has deteriorated drastically in recent decades. Factory farming, extensive pesticide and herbicide use, and processed foods are having a devastating effect on our health and environment.
I became especially interested in agricultural practices in the summer of 2007. What started as an interest in dropping a few pounds, surprisingly became a lifelong educational endeavor. As a person who has never believed in dieting, I set out to find what people considered THE healthiest way to achieve more energy naturally. What I discovered was raw food. I was overjoyed to learn the many healing benefits of consuming fresh, raw foods. I began following raw foodists, and the knowledge I have learned inspired my desire to launch my other website: Raw Food Rednecks. Though I am not promoting a 100% raw food diet, the health benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables is undeniable. It was common sense for our ancestors and this knowledge has brought me back to my roots. I have come to realize and appreciate just how much we need farmers. And yet, they are becoming few and far between.
When I moved to the mountains of Western North Carolina back in 2010, I was thrilled to find an abundance of backyard gardens! I have fond memories of visiting my grandparents in Stillwater, Pennsylvania, and dreamed of one day living in the Appalachian Mountains. I am proud to call this area my home and thrilled to be a part of a community that still upholds sustainable agriculture. It inspired me to launch this website, and a sister website (Appalachian Farmers), in an effort to reestablish the connection between the farmer and the consumer. Our farmers and our food are being exploited at an appalling rate and I feel compelled to do my part in promoting responsible, small scale agriculture. Please join me in this ‘farm to plate’ movement and don’t forget to thank a farmer! Thanks for visiting. God bless