North Carolina’s Piedmont section, and Chatham County in particular, is experiencing a farming renaissance. Traditionally a region of small family farms and amiable though cussedly independent farmers, the rolling land and heavy clay soils are unsuitable for large scale agriculture. So the farms are changing to forest land, or in the shadow of the region’s rapidly growing cities – to subdivisions. Yet farm population, and farm income, are growing. Why? – A new generation of market farmers are growing specialty products for the region’s increasingly affluent, sophisticated, and international population. Celebrity Dairy is but one expression of this "niche-market" agriculture.
- Carrboro Farmer’s Market – The place to be – at 7:00 on a Saturday morning in Chapel Hill/Carrboro. This weekly market is the original dynamo powering small scale farming. Local, seasonal, absolutely top quality, and direct sales by the farmer make this market one of the best in the country. Officially open Saturdays 7:00-12:00, and Wednesday afternoons – seasonally from Easter until Christmas.
- Carolina Farm Stewardship Association (CFSA) – Our regional organic farm organization. Look for their annual "Open Farm" tour in late April.
- NC Ag Extension Service – Chatham County has the state’s only Ag Extension Agent (Debbie Roos) devoted full-time to organic and sustainable agriculture. Debbie maintains a valuable web site showcasing all aspects of small scale farming named "Growing Small Farms". Its a must for information on small scale commercial farming practices.
- American Livestock Breeds Conservancy(ALBC) – located on the Courthouse Circle in Pittsboro, NC. The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy is a nonprofit membership organization working to protect nearly 100 breeds of cattle, goats, horses, asses, sheep, swine and poultry from extinction. . Contact them at P.O. Box 477 Pittsboro, NC 27312 Tel: (919) 542-5704.
- Central Carolina Community College (CCCC) – the Pittsboro campus of CCCC offers courses in sustainable agriculture and organic farming. Their program attracts interested students nationally, and has grown from a one-year certificate program into a full 2-year AA degree.
- American Cheese Society (ACS) – the grassroots organization of farmstead cheesemakers, and of specialty stores promoting fine cheeses.
- American Institute of Wine and Food (AIWF) – the "child" of Robert Mondavi & Julia Childs – for those who take food seriously.
- Slow Foods – A European movement just reaching America – dedicated to preserving, fostering and celebrating local food traditions.
- A little further afield – the American Dairy Goat Association (ADGA) – is the national dairy goat registry. By no coincidence, they’re located in Spindale, NC – just down the road from Carl Sandberg’s home – Connemara – in Flat Rock.