| Celebrity Dairy Goat Farm
Siler City, NC
"NC is the
pinnacle of sustainable farming," says Brit Pfann, co-owner of Celebrity
Dairy Farm. He gives five reasons for this statement: the local
community college, which offers a degree in Sustainable Agriculture; the
strong food traditions of NC; the farmers' markets in Chapel
Hill/Carrboro that have supported sustainable agriculture for over 30
years; local restaurants like the Magnolia Grill, which offers seasonal menus;
and the influx of affluent professionals from the Research Triangle
Park who are willing to pay the unsubsidized price for sustainable
food. Brit may have unwittingly begun a friendly competition between my
two states, but I look forward to the debate.
Brit along with Fleming, his wife and cheese expert, have been making goat cheese for over 20 years.
While not certified, the farm is definitely organic and sustainable.
Conveniently, the farm is also home to a bed & breakfast and
is an authentic and lovely Southern getaway. You can see my photos of
the goats and the cheese in this gallery.
| The PLENTY - Local Currency in the Piedmont of NC
One thing that the NC Piedmont has that I haven't seen in Oregon is a local currency. The PLENTY (Piedmont Local Economy Tender) began circulating in 2002 and its use was recently revitalized after its mention in Lyle Estill's book, Small Is Possible - Life in a Local Community.
The book was a catalyst in getting a local bank to exchange PLENTYs for federal money, which in turn encouraged further circulation. Currently, about a dozen merchants in the area accept PLENTYs, and Lyle is hopeful that all local businesses will accept them in the near future.
Lyle schooled me on the basic economic concept that a
dollar spent inside the community enriches the community, while a dollar
spent outside the community depletes it. Many people who are into sustainable living not only consume organic products but also try to buy local products when possible. When items don't have far to travel from the manufacturer to the consumer, less energy (and money!) is wasted on shipping and packaging. More thoughts about local currencies can be found on my blog, and you can see a small gallery of my images of the PLENTY here.
| Piedmont Biofuels - Biodiesel Experts
I was surprised to find a huge industrial biodiesel factory in rural NC. Piedmont Biofuels can produce up to 4000 gallons of biodiesel a day, but its impact on the environment doesn't stop at the factory walls. Their outreach programs include workshops and lectures at the local college; custom design of biodiesel converters, like the one they built inside a school bus for educational purposes; and laboratory testing of your product or idea related to biodiesel use. They even provide consultation services to others interested in setting up their own biodiesel businesses and factories. Obviously, this NC factory knows it's biodiesel, although it has taken pointers from Oregon where the price of biodiesel has been successfully tied to the price of feedstocks instead of petroleum -- so I guess the argument about which state is greener is still debatable.
More information about biodiesel may be found here in my gallery of images of the Piedmont Biofuels Industrial Park and the Biofuels Cooperative.