Saxapahaw, NC Part One

Personal connections. 

This local food movement is rooted in them.

In Saxapahaw, a shift started at a gas station. Or perhaps the better way to put it is with the people who owned the gas station. Jeff Barney decided to put a simple sign out in front of the gas pumps: "Local Food Wanted"

In addition to Doritos and Slim Jims, Jeff decided their Shell station would buy produce from farmers near the store- and cook up lunch with it.

The sign caught the attention of new farmer Suzanne Nelson who had recently started Cozi Farms. She began to produce some eggs for the gas station, and as the food coming out of the gas station got good reviews- things grew. What started out as a few dozen eggs- blossomed into a full compliment of dairy, vegetables and meat streaming into the gas station from many local farms. 

The gas station is now known as the Saxapahaw General Store. It's a place buzzing with good food and good energy. An example of what local food economies are transforming into.

Last night we had a screening of American Meat at the Haw River Ballroom  built from the remains of a dye factory. The venue is next store to/includes The Eddy Pub a gastropub which also shares its kitchen with the gas station (Saxpahaw General Store). The three establishments share people. Jeff- who put the sign out- is part owner of the gas station- and also chef at the gastropub. Another nice fellow- named Ron- works at both the gas station and Cozi farms. It's a little confusing- right? But after some reflection it makes sense... Places like Saxapahaw are building a new local economy, one that fundamentally changes the relationship between farmer, chef, gas station owner, bar, and of course, all of us customers. The buzz in Saxapahaw for local food is unmistakable, but when the town with a population of 1500 said they expected 200 people to show up for a documentary screening- we were optimistically curious.

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published this page in Ruminations 2012-07-18 10:23:56 -0400