The Gillings Sustainable Agriculture Project: A Gillings Innovative Laboratory

New Local foods venture for the Triangle Area
November 23, 2010, 2:09 am
Filed under: Food | Tags: ,
Pasture raised pig

a pasture raised pig checking out the grass

This fall, I started the Health Behavior and Health Education graduate program at the UNC’s Gillings School of Global Public Health. Going back to school has definitely been a transition, and with much of the work it has involved, this blog has been severely neglected! We are working to revitalize it these next coming months with postings around local food related research, news and events written by a variety of graduate students. But first, a post on the debut of a new and exciting local food business – Farmhand Foods.

According to information on their website –

“This new venture will connect North Carolina pasture-based livestock farmers with local food lovers, restaurants and retailers. The LLC  is an outgrowth of NC Choices, a Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) initiative. With support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, CEFS launched NC Choices in 2003 to help grow market opportunities for the state’s pasture-based pork producers. Through its extensive work with farmers, chefs, retailers, slaughter facilities, and research, CEFS identified the need for a NC-based business to work directly with small-scale farmers and processors to help market and distribute pasture-based meat products. For the past two years, CEFS has incubated Farmhand Foods, supporting the business development process. This included NC Choices’ participation in several business development programs offered through UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School.”

To me, what is particularly exciting about this venture is that it is a tangible and needed connection that came out of research. This is an indication that research does not have to always end with academic journal articles, but can create new opportunities that will help producers and consumers alike.

Farmhand Foods has a full line of products as well as a sausage wagon that will be debuting at different areas within the Triangle. Their first debut occurred about a month ago at the new Fullsteam Brewery in Durham (which uses local ingredients to make their beer). With over five hundred people attending, people were excited to have a taste of the home-grown sausages and were in full support. Click here to see some of the photos of the delicious looking sausages they were selling. And make sure to check out their website, where they’ll be tweeting their wagon whereabouts!