Community Stories: Why Local Food Inspires Us

A few months ago, ASAP hosted an event called the Local Food Experience. There were tons of fresh food and local farmers, and we set up a storybooth outside. It started to rain toward the end of the night, and the sound of the rain on the tent made these interviews with community members even cozier.

Aimee Ellingsen and Chuck Krekelberg live in North Asheville. They say shopping for local food brings them joy all week long.

“My whole week is kind of built around that morning at the farmers market. I just go there and get inspired,” Aimee says.

“Working with beautiful, locally-crafted ingredients is for us, a joy,” Chuck adds. “It’s one of the highlights of our weekends and actually during the week, too. Aimee will go to the farmers market and purchase beautiful, local vegetables and the amazing thing is the longevity of these freshly-picked vegetables purchased during the week last through the weekend and are just wonderful.”

Chuck and Aimee appreciate the friendships they’ve made with other shoppers at the market.

“Bumping into people at the farmers market leads to conversations, which leads to expanded relationships and learning more about the community through other people who love similar things, and in this case, food,” Chuck says.

Enjoying local food and cooking together builds bonds at home, too. Aimee and Chuck have a college-aged son who has helped out in the kitchen since he was three-years-old.

“We’ve been very open with allowing him to be part of the cooking process,” Chuck explains. “So when he was a very little boy, he would actually help us prepare food. We would allow him to stand at a stool near the stove, and we would be with him, and we would do seared artichokes and he loved mushrooms and beautiful ingredients, but when he was actually participating in cooking, it really made him much more open to those flavors and eating those things.”

These days, Aimee enjoys cooking winter vegetables like kabocha squash, and stocks up as the weather turns colder. She also likes cooking fresh greens with salmon or cod from the fish vendor at the market.

Now that their son is studying at a nearby college, he comes home to eat meals with his parents at least once a week.

“Sitting at the table as a family and eating beautiful food is definitely something he appreciates and we appreciate doing with him,” says Chuck.

As her son becomes an adult, Aimee wants to share her beliefs about local food. “It supports people’s health, it supports our community’s success, it saves our farms from development, and it just gives lots of people opportunities around here,” she says.

If you want to connect more deeply with local food, check out ASAP’s Local Food Guide. It includes the dates and times of local farmers markets, ways to participate in Community Supported Agriculture, and it also has stories about farmers marking a difference in the community. The online guide can be found at

Aired: January 7, 2019

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