Veggie Van Mobile Market brings local food to the community

(Contributed photo)

By Rebecca Jones, special to the News-Times

CARTERET COUNTY — In the movie Wizard of Oz, the Wizard told Dorothy to “Close your eyes and tap your heels together three times and think to yourself ‘There’s no place like home’”

Stacy Macklin of Newport was born and raised in Morehead City and grew up working in her grandparents’ craft store on the waterfront. Stacy says, “I have lived here all of my life except for a brief stint in New Jersey that solidified the fact that I am a southern girl.”

Stacy left her job as an insurance agent and had planned to complete her bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and Criminology from the University of Mount Olive. Stacy said, “I wanted to see where the wind would take me.” But after volunteering with the Carteret Local Food Network and being introduced to local food systems her life took a different turn.

She said, “I’ve lived here all of my life and have lived near or around several local farmers without ever paying much attention. I just never stopped to think about all the hard work that goes into local foods. I’ve fallen in love with every one of our local farmers and producers that I’ve met and I’ve been moved by the individual stories that they share about how they got from point A to point B. I’ve realized that farmers don’t work for the money, they do it because they are passionate about what they grow or tend and want to give back to their neighbors and the community. Really, I became interested in local foods when I realized that there are so many stories behind the farms and I wanted to be able to be a part of that story and share it.”

 She accepted the business director position in December of 2019 and since then has launched the Veggie Van Mobile Market and the Multi-Farm Local CSA. Stacy says she does not feel her job is really a job. Although she is primarily engrossed in spreadsheets, grant writing, analytics, social media, and marketing proposals, she also gets to throw on some rain boots and venture out to the farm at Bogue, Heart and Soil, Garner Farms, Shenk Family Farm, and others to take a tour, learn more about something new they are growing, offer help and resources if needed, and get to know and thank the people who feed her family.

Stacy said, “I enjoy being a part of this community because this is where my roots are. My grandparents and great-grandparents fished these waters and tended their own gardens right here. I love that I can connect with almost anyone via the history of Carteret County and sometimes even find out that we’re related! I enjoy the fact that we are a closely-knit community and even when devastating things like Hurricane Florence happen, we will all band together and look out for and take care of one another.”

To Stacy, there is really no place like home.

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