Farmer and chef Cassie Parsons has been a leader in Charlotte’s local food movement. In 2009, she ran the city’s first upscale food truck. The following year, she opened her brick and mortar restaurant Harvest Moon Grille. Every item on the menu is grown or raised on her property, Grateful Growers Farm, in Denver, North Carolina. Parsons gives us a preview of her presentation on Feb. 15!
TEDxCharlotte: What will you be talking about at TEDxCharlotte?
Cassie Parsons: The future of food as both a farmer and as a chef. I will share both perspectives.
TEDxCharlotte: Why is locally grown food so important to Charlotte?
CP: Economically the impact stays here in our region. Profits are made by local farmers and the local restaurant. This money is then spent locally. It creates local jobs and revenue for other local businesses. The economic impact is far reaching. Serving local, seasonal food creates a culinary team with an understanding and an outlook that results in using all of the product and wasting less food. It requires culinary knowledge of how to really cook not just open cans and use mixes. Local food is superior in taste and nutrition. Local food is greener, better for the environment.
TEDxCharlotte: What projects do you have planned for this year and beyond?
CP: My major plan this year is to add to the urban farms I have helped establish and create four more urban farms in our city. These farms produce entrepreneurial opportunities for participants who want to learn to farm. We will buy what they grow. This is a model for sustainability. I will continue to promote and teach the forgotten arts of food production – (including) butchering, baking, sausage and charcuterie making.
I will be writing a book on the life of a chef turned farmer.
by Joanne Spataro