Karen Karp & Partners (KK&P) was recently retained by the City of Charlotte, North Carolina to provide consulting services regarding improvements to the regional food system, specifically addressing the city’s farmers’ markets. The mission of the study is to develop recommendations for a market system that supports farmers, entrepreneurship, and food access while building community and place throughout the region.
The City of Charlotte sees an opportunity for a more effective and impactful system that could better meet current and future demand for locally produced food. Initial research done by the city suggested various limitations and constraints in the system, but farmers, market managers, buyers, and consumers all understood the potential impact of connecting local consumers to more local foods.
To that end, KK&P is looking at a number of key impact areas, including regional farming, wholesale aggregation and distribution, entrepreneurship, placemaking, and food access. Understanding how these elements work in tandem, and how farmers’ markets can serve a central role in that equation, will be instrumental in driving and expanding the growth of the region’s food economy.
KK&P has assembled a team, including Market Ventures, Suede Onion, FARMS, and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Food Policy Council, that brings deep national experience and expertise in regional food systems and markets, local knowledge, skill with analyzing and presenting data, and a creative, responsive approach to community engagement and information gathering to this work. The full team recently completed its first visit to the region, with three days of intensive research and stakeholder engagement in mid-October. KK&P is excited to collaborate with our team members, the city, and its stakeholders on this important and defining project for the region’s food and farm economy.