Historically, farming has been an essential way of life in the Sandhills region of North Carolina. However, smaller-scale local farms have steadily disappeared in the wake of large industrial farms and globalization. The persistence of large, commercial farming challenges the sustainability and even survival of smaller, local farms. The inability to produce food and crops for local consumption has led to food deserts within Scotland and Robeson County.
In this two-part consideration of the future of farming in the region, two farmers discuss the urgent need for local agriculture and how they’re reviving it as a productive way of life in their communities. Both Davon Goodwin and Ed Hunt call into question who the next generation of farmers will be and seek ways for Black and Indigenous community members to enter the profession. Their work is actively informed by the sordid history of Black and Indigenous people working the land, whether voluntarily or through enslavement. These pieces include discussions on innovations in agricultural practices, the power of ownership with a mentality of stewardship, and how bringing new generations to farming has the potential to have lasting local economic impacts, while also nurturing community. —Morgan Augillard and Joey Swerdlin, Along the Lumbee River report editors
Read Growing Agricultural Entrepreneurs, part II of our exploration on the future of farming.