About the Project

NC Growing Together is a five year (2013—2017) USDA-funded project. It aims to bring more locally-produced foods into mainstream markets, strengthening the economics of small to mid-size farm and fishing operations and their communities.

Main Activities

NC Growing Together will bring more North Carolina produce, meat, dairy, and seafood into large-scale markets by:

  • Working on the supply side to connect North Carolina’s small and medium-sized farmers and fishers with partner retailers, food hubs, and food service buyers. The project emphasizes training and capacity-building to enable smaller producers to meet the requirements of larger buyers.
  • Working on the demand side to address issues that have typically prevented larger buyers from purchasing from smaller producers. This includes adapting buying protocols to enable purchasing from smaller producers and food hubs.
  • Working on the intermediary steps, including aggregating, processing and distributing. The project seeks to understand and remove barriers that prevent local foods from entering large-scale markets.


The project is highly collaborative and includes dozens of partners from across the state. All of the partners have a stake in developing North Carolina’s Local Food Economy.

Major partners include Lowes FoodsNC Cooperative Extension, Foster-CavinessUS Foods, and Merchants Distributors.

The project is led by the Center for Environmental Farming Systems, a partnership of North Carolina State University, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, and the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

For more information, please see our Project Partners page.