Grown Here at Home: Local farmers give their take on creating sustainable local food systems
BIG ISLAND, Va. (WDBJ) - At the heart of Restoration Acres Farm is food that restores. This farm in Big Island run by first-generation farmers, Matthew and Rachel Palma, is on a mission to heal more land and produce a quality food source.
“We have a vested interest in the animals’ health, and the health of the land, and the health of the customer because we deal directly with all those things,” Matthew said.
Farming is a business. At Restoration Acres Farm, they have chosen to take the middle man out of it.
“We distribute the product, we market the product, we raise the animals, we are responsible for the feed distribution, we process our own chickens, we deal with the local butchers. Whatever you’re paying, that’s what it cost for us to raise the animals,” explained Matthew.
Matthew and Rachel believe the pandemic has highlighted that now, more than ever, it’s important that people invest in their local farms, and that local farmers partner with each other to create a stronger food system in their community.
“First-generation farmers and multi-generational farmers need to bridge the gap, because the multi-generational farmers, they have the land, the infrastructure, the wisdom, and then first-generation farmers, we have the new ideas, the fresh outlook, the energy and the time. So we really need to come together and utilize both resources and learn from each other; and have a food hub where we take all our food to a localized place where it’s convenient for the customer. So once all those things start coming into place that’s when this starts to become a viable food system,” Matthew said.
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