EXTENDING OUR REACH: How local is your food?

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Local food depends on your definition of local. Do you grow and preserve your own food? Do you buy from local farmers? Do you shop in the locally grown section of the supermarket? You probably won’t be able to find all the foods your family desires grown in Mitchell County. 

It’s just a fact bananas, coffee, pineapples and many other foods don’t grow in our area. So, if the plan is to grow some of your food, there’s no better place than your backyard. The amount of food your family decides to grow depends on several things: How much time you have, the size of your backyard, your gardening skills, etc. - all of which factor into planning home gardens.

Gardening is a great way to get the family outdoors and provides the opportunity to get some exercise. 

There are a variety of ways to create a garden - you can create a small container garden, raised beds, have a small greenhouse, grow a 10x10 plot in the yard or work a large garden (like families used to depend on 100 years ago). Gardens can be grown utilizing organic, hydroponic and conventional methods as well using heated or unheated hoop houses. Your family can eat fresh produce all summer, and they can preserve fruits and vegetables by drying, freezing and canning, allowing you to eat from the garden year-round.

NC Cooperative Extension can assist you with your garden planning and with your gardening questions. Visit our website at mitchell.ces.ncsu.edu and go to the lawn and garden section. There you will find information for beginners to advanced gardeners. 

Also, you can call 828-688-4811 or visit the NC Cooperative Extension-Mitchell County Center in Bakersville. We’re available to make site visits to help with your garden questions.

J. Gary Hyatt is an Agriculture Agent with North Carolina Cooperative Extension-Mitchell County Center. He may be reached by calling 828-688-4811 or by email at jghyatt2@gmail.com.