The Mitchell County Growing Together Project's Vision
The Mitchell County Growing Together (MCGT) project was formed by the Mitchell County Farmers' Markets, NC Cooperative Extension, ToeCane Beekeepers Association, and the Mitchell County Christmas Tree Growers Association.
MCGT's mission is to assist and support Mitchell County farmers and farmers' markets. In order to increase recognition of our farmers and their products, this website was created, an advertising campaign was launched, and continuing initiatives were developed to educate our community on the importance of local agriculture.
The steering committee for the project includes:
Rick and Alice Harty - Harty Farm
Since moving to Mitchell County in 2004, Rick and Alice Harty have owned and operated the Harty Farm located on the Big Rock Creek in the Red Hill community.
On their farm they produce a variety of specialty crops such as shiitake mushrooms, white meat rabbit, honey and honeybee products as well as some fruits and vegetables. Their products are sold on the farm, at the two Mitchell County Farmer's Markets, to local restaurants and to a market cooperative that sells their products to Asheville restaurants.
Rick and Alice have both been strongly involved in the local food movement. They are supporters of the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP) and have been Farmers Market members since 2006 where Alice is the current manager for both markets. They have been members, since 2005, of the ToeCane Beekeepers Association that meets in Yancey County where Alice is Secretary and Treasurer and Rick holds the Vice President position. They are also on the steering committee for the North Carolina Mountain Mushroom Cooperative (NCMMC) of Madison County where their shiitake mushrooms are sold to Asheville restaurants. Rick has been on the Board of Directors for the Independent Small Animal Meat Processors Association (ISAMPA) since 2007 and is the current President. The ISAMPA organization provides workshops for local farmers interested in raising poultry and rabbit for meat sales and has been the principle motivator for a rabbit and poultry processing plant built in McDowell County that is slated to open in late 2011. Rick and Alice also provide volunteer assistance to the Mitchell County Cooperative Extension Service helping with a variety of community related projects.
Jenny Parker, while working at the OakMoon Farm and Creamery in Mitchell County, volunteered to assist the steering committee in writing the proposal for the Farmers Market Promotion Program grant.
Jenny a native of North Carolina attend the University and has worked for food justice-based non-profits and various farms in North Carolina, Virginia, and New York for the past six years. Currently, Jenny is working as a farm manager in the Hudson Valley of New York.
Bridget VanRemortel - Wineberry Farm and Bakery
Bridget Van Remortel along with her husband Scott VanRemortel, own Wineberry Farm and Bakery in Bakersville NC. Bridget received degrees in both Culinary Arts and Baking and Pastry Arts from Johnson and Wales University. She began selling some produce and a variety of baked goods at the farmers markets in Mitchell County in 2007. She sells her cakes, pies, cookies, breads and wedding cakes at both farmers markets in the county as well as a few area restaurants. Bridget is entering her second year as a co-manager of the Spruce Pine Farmers Market where her responsibilities include marketing and advertising the market.
Jeff Vance - Mitchell County Director, NC Cooperative Extension
Jeff Vance serves as the County Extension Director for the Mitchell County Extension Center. Jeff has worked for the N.C. Cooperative Extension Service for twenty years, all in Mitchell County. He began his career as an Agriculture Extension Agent in 1992 with responsibilities for horticulture, forestry and pesticide education. In 2004 he moved into the position of County Extension Director. Jeff has a B.S. in ornamental horticulture and a Masters of Agriculture and Extension Education both from N.C. State University.
Jeremy DeLisle - Associate Area Agent, NC Cooperative Extension
Jeremy DeLisle is an Area Agriculture agent working in Mitchell and Yancey counties in western North Carolina. Programmatic responsibilities include fruit and vegetable production, specialty crops such as medicinal herbs, mushrooms and cut flowers, as well as livestock. He has a strong interest in sustainable agriculture and helping farmers and landowners determine the best solutions for their individual situations. Jeremy attended North Carolina State University and earned his undergraduate degree in Horticulture and his master's degree in Agriculture and Extension Education. He and his family enjoy spending time outdoors exploring our local rivers, fishing and gardening and the like.
Barbara Aycock - Sundance Farm
Barbara Aycock and her husband Ellis take their farming seriously. Although retired from professional careers as a teacher and an attorney, in 2005 they started the Sundance Farm in Avery County to raise organic fruits and vegetables and also became a member of the Spruce Pine Farmers' Market. Their goal is to grow healthy food for their family and friends as well as for local markets and to use sustainable agricultural practices to protect and preserve their land.
For more information aobut MCGT, its programs or its services, please contact us.