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.
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.
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.
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.