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“The kids have a blast. Their whole face is just dripping red with strawberry juice.”

Kent Gilkerson is describing his favorite thing about being a strawberry farmer. A prison guard by day, Kent planted his first 500 strawberry plants a decade ago. Last year he had 27,000. 

Like many family farmers, Kent makes much of his revenue from agri-tourism—families and school field trips that come to his place for the experience of picking their own farm fresh strawberries. 

A few years ago, he was looking for new revenue sources for himself and other farmers. “We needed our own way to market strawberries, and so we started our own strawberry festival.” (It’s in Alderson. You should go. The date is May 23rd. Look for the Sunset Berry Farm Booth.)

We can have an economy that chooses family farms over big Agriculture, healthy local food over out-of-state produce. We can invest in shared equipment programs and expand Farm to School (and other state procurement programs). We can make capital more available and help small farmers like Kent with deer exclusion fencing (which would have saved him $20k last year alone). 

We can do all these things and more, if we win a government that is not for sale.

See some of our plans to addres these issues here: