TRACTOR is Increasing Access to Fresh, Healthy Food

TRACTOR Food & Farms, a rural food-hub located in Yancey County, is determined to increase local food access by uniting communities with their local producers. Their innovative programs address barriers that perpetuate food insecurity, providing local families access to the fresh, nutritious food produced in their communities while establishing an equitable local food economy for producers. 

A 2020 IMPACT Grant from WNC Bridge Foundation has allowed TRACTOR to increase their facility and distribution capacity. “A significant barrier for local families, food pantries, and producers is transportation and distribution logistics,” explains Dru Zucchino, Executive Director at TRACTOR. “With support from WNC Bridge Foundation, TRACTOR will expand their Clinical Referral and Healthy Harvest Programs to reach four additional WNC counties in 2021.” The four additional counties include Mitchell, Avery, Madison, and Buncombe counties. The Clinical Referral program provides WNC families experiencing food insecurity or diet-related illness a bag of fresh, locally sourced produce once a week for 18 weeks. TRACTOR’s Healthy Harvest Program continues to source and deliver local produce to food pantries across WNC. 

The IMPACT Grant also allows TRACTOR to expand their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program within the same counties, offering nutritious local food shares to people around WNC. “Working intimately with local producers within the thin margins of agriculture, flexibility is key when procuring local food for local families. Each farm, food pantry, and family is unique, and we pride ourselves on being a community resource for all when it comes to local agriculture and food’s relationship to public health,” Zucchino notes. “We would like to thank WNC Bridge Foundation for their support, recognizing the importance of general operating funds that this grant provided. Food hubs like ours might feel burdened by the administration and implementation of grants, often restricting our valuable infrastructure to the community as a whole. TRACTOR Food & Farms serves a diverse set of community members and systems, and WNC Bridge Foundation made significant efforts to provide the flexibility needed to serve those folks.”

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“My consumption of fruits and vegetables has increased. This has been wonderful for us. We thank you more than you will ever realize. My husband and I have a hard time with his health and money, so this has helped a lot.” ~Deborah, Clinical Referral Participant