Catawba County

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Learn about the county and its relationship to the region.
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Articles about Catawba County

  • Richmond County extension director and extension agent Paige Burns discusses bok choy with Mandy Davis, co-director of Sandhills Farm-to-Table (in the pink hat). Photo: Nancy Pierce

    Why intermediaries are key to viable local food systems

    Growing and buying healthy local food is a business: complex, rich in heritage and culture, essential to health and well-being, consumed by all but understood by few.  We learned from our Carolinas Urban-Rural Connection regional food systems research that farmers who become part of the wholesale food supply chain are able to increase the economic viability of their crops. However, this commitment not only requires additional investment and education, then selling directly to consumers, it also requires the support of many partners or intermediaries, along the way.
  • Quadplexes built in Badin, N.C. for workers by Alcoa, which for generations was the town's major employer. The aluminum works is gone now, leaving Badin to search for a new way forward. Photo: Nancy Pierce

    There’s a housing affordability crisis in rural areas, too

    Charlotte has struggled with housing affordability in recent years, as the city faces rising rents and home prices driven by rapid growth and low supply.  But urban areas are not the only places grappling with these challenges, even though affordable housing is typically seen as an urban problem. Rural areas in the Carolinas Urban-Rural Connection study region are also experiencing a severe housing shortage and affordability issue.
  • Highways lead from North Carolina to South Carolina without any physical border - but there still appears to be an effect on our behavior. Photo: Nancy Pierce

    A border problem? Unexpected ways the state line influences our behavior

    We don’t often think about crossing state lines. Other than changes in gas prices or the availability of fireworks, there’s little visible difference as you cross from North Carolina into South Carolina, or vice versa. But that line appears to influence our behavior, at least when it comes to how we spend leisure time. 
  • Sackda and Phoudone Naovarath, Laotian immigrants, own and operate the only restaurant in Badin, Tho Pizza & Hot Subs. The diverse menu includes fajita subs, lo mein, teriyaki and hibachi dishes, salads, double bacon cheeseburgers, Pad Thai, hush puppies, fish & chips, and pizza. Photo: Nancy Pierce

    ‘It would be insane’ not to value stronger urban-rural connections

    Cities boom while rural areas struggle. People seeking opportunity leave the countryside for urban areas. Small towns left behind after the local mill or factory closes down are hollowed-out shells. We’ve heard these tropes before; cliches about the urban-rural divide abound. But the Carolinas Urban-Rural Connections project is built on the premise that there’s more that unites us than divides us.