Chapel Hill News

Chatham ag and conference center groundbreaking Thursday

Ag center groundbreaking Thursday

PITTSBORO Chatham County officials invite residents to the groundbreaking of the new Agriculture and Conference Center from 4:30-5:30 p.m. Thursday, May 8.

The groundbreaking location is just to the west of the Pittsboro campus of Central Carolina Community College on U.S. 64. Attendees should plan to park on the campus area between the Sustainable Agriculture Building and Building #2.

“We are excited to begin the building process at the very time that we are celebrating 100 years of Cooperative Extension in the United States,” said County Extension Director Sam Groce. “On that same date in 1914, Congress approved the Smith Lever Act that led to the creation of the Agriculture Extension Service.”

The new facility will be approximately 32,500 square feet with almost 6,000 square feet of exhibit hall space and a large stage. The west wing will include offices for Cooperative Extension, Soil & Water Conservation and other agriculture-related agencies.

The Chatham County Board of Commissioners set aside funds to pay the debt service on a loan to build the Ag Center, with no tax increase required. Hobbs Architects, PA in Pittsboro is the project architect.

Chatham Food Council forming

A task force involved in starting a community-based Chatham Food Council invites residents to apply to serve on the first official council. The Chatham Food Council is expected to convene for the first time in June 2014.

In the last five years, at least 24 counties in North Carolina have formed food councils, which are partnership organizations aimed at bringing together key people involved in local food economies to improve community and regional food systems.

Local food systems include an array of important components, such as community gardens, farmers’ markets, produce stands, farm-school partnerships, transportation and affordability of foods.

Food councils help promote stronger local food systems, including improving access to healthy local foods. They assess the current food situation, make recommendations on how to improve it and communicate recommendations to policymakers and organizations that can take action.

The three major functions of the Chatham Food Council will include: developing a policy agenda based on practical research for policy changes; advocating for specific food systems issues; and sharing information, including events, services, and programs.

Members of the Chatham Food Council must be prepared to attend monthly meetings, but the members will decide when and where the meetings occur.

There also will be opportunities for people to serve on committees of the Food Council, which will get underway later in the year.

To find out more about the Chatham Food Council, go to

If you have questions about the Chatham Food Council, contact Sarah Weller at 919-545-8443 or