New Vacationer Supported Agriculture (VSA) with NC State Extension offers fresh provisions to enhance community and vacation experience
JACKSON COUNTY, N.C. (May 11, 2021) – The Jackson County Tourism Development Authority (JCTDA) today announced the launch of NC State Extension’s Vacationer Supported Agriculture (VSA) initiative. Now through the last weekend in September, visitors can pre-purchase fresh fruit and vegetables, eggs, meat, and just-picked floral bouquets online (www.p1provisions.com/discover-jackson-nc/) from a network of small farmers in the Western North Carolina community. Visitors can then pick up the specially curated totes from WNC Farm to Table or their local Vacation Rental Agency when they arrive.
Lisa McBride at WNC Farm-to-Table manages the program for Jackson County, NC and works with local farms to harvest bags containing more than 10 lbs. of fresh produce, fruits and herbs. McBride reaches out to those who have purchased provisions a few days before the stay to share what’s in season, so guests know what to expect in the bags.
“We are proud to partner with NC Extension and WNC Farm-to-Table to support the livelihood of our local farmers and deliver on vacationers’ desire for fresh, local food,” said Nick Breedlove, Executive Director of the JCTDA. “Our destination has an abundance of short-term vacation rentals, and now our visitors have a convenient way to cook meals at their home-away-from-home using fresh local ingredients from farmers in our community.”
The concept for VSA was developed by a team of specialists from NC State Extension and Tourism Extension as part of a 3-year USDA Farmers Market Promotion Program grant. Through its online partner, People First Provisions, VSA coordinates the sale of weekly produce bags to vacationers over the summer tourism season and now the month-long shoulder season before and after the high season. NC State’s project team and county Extension partners coordinate groups of local farmers in the growing, packaging, and delivery of bags of local food to pick-up locations convenient to vacationers.