MOREHEAD CITY — A statewide environmental nonprofit with a local branch in Morehead City is holding a campaign to raise awareness of local farms, including oyster growers.
Coastal Carolina Riverwatch, which is dedicated to protecting rivers, sounds and coastal waters through advocacy, outreach and water monitoring, announced recently the beginning of its Farm Friday campaign. The Crystal Coast Waterkeeper is a member of CCRW.
CCRW said in its announcement the program will feature a local farm on its Facebook and Instagram accounts, as well as its website, coastalcarolinariverwatch.org. The purpose of the initiative, according to CCRW, is “to highlight the work of small farmers and the many benefits of choosing local.”
CCRW program coordinator Rebecca Drohan said large-scale industrial agriculture can have negative impacts on water, health and the environment.
“We envision a collaborative food system working with local farmers to protect our community and resources,” Ms. Drohan said. “This makes it extremely important to promote alternatives.”
Each week, CCRW will gather photos and statements from local farmers to showcase their farms and sustainable practices. The nonprofit said it visits farm stands and markets to check out the freshest goods.
“Features have included produce, chicken, pork, eggs, flowers, sheep wool, ice cream and dairy and even oysters,” it said.
Oysters Carolina founder and CCRW board member Ryan Bethea said as an oyster farmer, water quality is “the most important thing for my business.”
CCRW said the benefits to local food are “seemingly endless.”
“When we choose local, we reduce greenhouse gas emissions from food transport and refrigeration,” the nonprofit said. “Food purchased directly from a farmer is far less likely to be packaged in single use plastic. Less pesticides enter our waterways as usage is over a small piece of land or often avoided altogether. Animal waste is more effectively managed.”
CCRW also said many farmers recognize that with their profession comes “a commitment to the land.” The Farm at Bogue said in a statement in the nonprofit’s announcement, “Our farm borders the Bogue Sound so we believe it is our responsibility to be good stewards of the land, water, and air.
“We are doing everything we can to take care of the resources that take care of us and you,” The Farm at Bogue said.
CCRW said food is an intimate part of people’s daily lives.
“Building relationships with our food providers ensures the transparency we need to make the best choices for our bodies, environment and local economy,” the organization said.
Harlowe Custom Microgreens said in the announcement that “choosing local is about choosing methods of sustainable practices that ensure our grandchildren and beyond will have the same access to a good life as those that came before us.”
CCRW said it will continue the Farm Friday campaign to “recognize farmers who are doing their part to strengthen our community and protect our precious natural resources.”