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CoastLine: Food Deserts, Food Production, and the New View of the American Lawn

Natalie Maynor
produce at a farmers market

This broadcast of CoastLine originally aired on April 15, 2015. 

A new culture of foodies and environmentalists has popularized the notion of organic, locally-sourced food. 

And as the foodie community grows in the region, so does the divergence between the people who can afford to make healthier, more sustainable choices, and the people who suffer from food insecurity – which can mean not knowing where the next meal is coming from – or having to choose between paying an electric bill and buying food. 

On this edition of CoastLine, we explore the realities of food insecurity in southeastern North Carolina, how this struggle contributes to health issues like obesity, and whether there are alternative ways of producing food that might offer greater access to healthy food. 

In-studio guests: 

Evan Folds is the President of Progressive Gardensand Progressive Farms.  He's also a member of the Board of Directors of Tidal Creek Coop in Wilmington.

Dr. Jill Waity is an Assistant Professor of Sociologyin UNCW’s Sociology and Criminology Department.   

Listen to Segment 1 here.
Listen to Segment 2 here.
Listen to Segment 3 here.

After the show, we received an email from a spokesperson at the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina.  She offered this clarification on the question of whether food stamps can be used at local Farmer Markets:

"There are no farm markets in Wilmington’s immediate vicinity that accept SNAP/Food Stamps (known as FNS in NC).  The downtown market used to do so but no longer participates.  It’s hard to find a staff person willing to commit to the paperwork needed to maintain EBT machines.  So despite accepting electronic payments, EBT cards cannot be used locally.  The closest markets that accept benefits are Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville and the Columbus Co. Community Farmers Market in Whiteville."

Further Clarification: 

Dr. Leslie Hossfeld, Executive Director of Feast Down East and Chair of UNCW's Sociology Department, says there are two Feast Down East weekly Fresh Markets in Wilmington which accept EBT cards:

Fresh Market at Rankin Terrace
Fridays, 10 am – 12:00 pm
Open Year Round
Located: Corner of 12th St. & Rankin St., Wilmington

Fresh Market at Hillcrest
Fridays, 1:30pm – 4pm
Open Year Round
Located: Corner of S. 13th St & Meares St.

Rachel hosts and produces CoastLine, an award-winning hourlong conversation featuring artists, humanitarians, scholars, and innovators in North Carolina. The show airs Wednesdays at noon and Sundays at 2 pm on 91.3 FM WHQR Public Media. It's also available as a podcast; just search CoastLine WHQR. You can reach her at rachellh@whqr.org.