Raleigh used to be a small town in a rural state. While Raleigh is getting bigger, the movement toward local, sustainable food is picking up steam, which helps our local farmers. And there is a link to our rural history right here in town.
You may have read the great article recently in The Raleigh Downtowner about the rural roots of Raleigh and the role of agriculture over the years. To continue on that theme, we thought we’d point out that Raleigh is home to a celebrity – Progressive Farmer magazine. That’s right , Progressive Farmer – you don’t have a subscription? You may laugh, but you very well may actually have a subscription because Southern Living magazine started as Progressive Farmer.
Let’s take a step back. Oral history tells us that on his way back from the Civil War, Leonidas Lafayette Polk (L.L. to you and me) realized that for the South to recover, they needed to organize. Polk was a Colonel and a native of Anson County. Read all about him here. Anyway, he was the first Commissioner of Agriculture and fought to improve farmer’s well being. He went on to found Progressive Farmer magazine, which, fast-forward to today, is now Southern Living. See! We have more things to be excited about than Clay Aiken.
What the hell does this have to do with Downtown Raleigh? Well, thank you for asking! The Polk House Museum is just around the corner on Blount Street, but has an interesting history of its own, having previously been at the site of Krispy Kreme. While downtown Raleigh is enjoying a resurgence in new construction and activity, just a few blocks away are some jewels of history. The house has been restored and will eventually be opened as a museum sometime this fall. However, the ties to rural North Carolina still remain.
Though the museum may not open for a few more months, the foundation is still actively supporting rural farmers. Through their NC Green Market program, residents can purchase local, seasonal crops in an effort to help support the family farms.
So, it kind of comes full circle when you think about it. Wherever you choose to buy your produce, I think LL Polk would be happy just to know that it was local.