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TRACTOR Food and Farms is helping build a healthy community one bite at a time

Editor’s Note: The following sponsored content is provided by Ingles.

The farm-to-table movement is here to stay, with consumer demand for local and regional foods continuing to rise.

Buying local food benefits local farmers, local communities and the environment. That’s why Ingles Markets signed on to support TRACTOR Food and Farms, a non-profit food hub just outside of Asheville, North Carolina that helps more than 50 family farms in Yancey, Mitchell, Burke, McDowell, Avery, Madison and Buncombe Counties in Western North Carolina.

The mission of TRACTOR (Toe River Aggregation Center Training Organization Regional Inc.) is to: reduce poverty; increase farm income in the community; expand sources of safe, healthy, locally grown food; preserve farmland and green space; and protect a farm culture in a traditional farm-oriented community.

Once a thriving tobacco-producing area, Yancey, Mitchell and surrounding counties lost 219 farms between 2002 and 2007 caused by the crash of the tobacco industry and increasing competition from mega-farms. Buying local through programs like TRACTOR helps reverse this trend and preserve the region’s agricultural heritage.

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TRACTOR supports local agriculture and provides area restaurants and grocery stores with a diverse selection of fresh produce. That’s where Ingles comes in.

Through the TRACTOR program, small farmers know that their products will be purchased by Ingles and other grocers, giving them a guaranteed source of income. The Ingles partnership helps small farmers survive and thrive and hopefully will encourage more local agriculture to help meet the demands of a growing population in Western North Carolina and Upstate South Carolina.

“Ingles means a lot to the farmers because they know that they can grow a quality product and that someone is going to buy it and support local agriculture,” said TRACTOR Director Robin Smith. “These growers are very proud of what they produce. They want to see their products delivered in a good way and get them to your table so that you can enjoy them with your family.”

Look for TRACTOR’s red sticker on produce at Ingles. For more information on TRACTOR Food and Farms, visit the TRACTOR website.

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