Community Story: Preserving Farmland and Passing Down Values

Earlier this summer, ASAP invited members of the community to come to our storybooth to talk about how local food is part of their lives. 

George Ivey from Hendersonville, North Carolina stepped right up with his 15-month-old son. His baby is just starting to eat solid foods and is loving the abundance of fruit this time of year. 

“Right now he especially loves berries and watermelon,” George says. “Since we’re in Henderson County with all the apple farmers, I think he’s destined to eat a lot of apples and drink a lot of apple juice.”

The family gets much of their fruit from the farmers market, a place where George and his wife Laura have shopped for years. 

“We continue to support local farmers markets and get local food,” he says. “Now that we have a young baby, we are paying a lot more attention to what we eat as well as what he eats.”

There are many ways George interacts with local food and farms, not just at home but at work. He’s a fundraising consultant who works with farmers and organizations to secure funds for conservation easements. These are voluntary legal agreements between landowners and a land trust or government agency that limit how the land can be used in order to permanently protect it.

“I have done consulting work in Haywood County and helped with preserving farmland through conservation easements to make sure that we protect farmland from development,” he explains. “We’ve already lost a lot of prime soils and prime farmland, and so I’ve been involved in that and the livestock center out in Canton to support our pretty substantial livestock industry.”

In addition to preserving the land itself, George is working to ensure that farmers can have profitable farm businesses as well.

“Even with farm conservation easements, if you protect the farmland and the farmer cannot make a living then you’re probably just protecting something that’s an overgrown forest in 20 years,” he says. “So we really try to look at the whole picture and try to make sure farmers can actually make a living and that their kids can see farming is a viable choice for their career.”

George’s son is too young to think about a career, but George and his wife want to pass down some of these big picture ideas about farming as well as small-scale actions and attitudes about local food to their son.

“We want to make sure he knows where milk comes from and where his vegetables come from, and regardless of what he chooses to eat, whether that’s meat or veggies or cheese and other products like that, we want him to know where it all comes from and support the people who make those delicious meals possible,” he says.

We’ll be speaking with more community members about their relationship with food and farming later this fall. In the meantime, find ideas and information about how to make local food a part of your life at

Aired: September 16, 2019

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