Urban farms for North Carolina!

Campaign logo: "Sarah Taber for Commissioner of Agriculture"

Urban farms are normal in most of the world. Dutch greenhouses grew out of vegetable farms packed into medieval cities. India is known as a “nation of villages” where in most of the country, fields and homes are in walking distance of each other. And a suburb of Philadelphia called Kennett Square, dotted with light-proofed garages, grows nearly all the mushrooms in the US. Urban farms are already real and they’re powerful.

The sun setting over a collection of glass rectangle roofs of greenhouses, with trees visible between buildings.
A cityside greenhouse district in Zuid-Holland, the Netherlands.

But Americans still see urban farming as an exotic new idea. We think farms are supposed to be big open fields. That’s not just a vibe. It’s policy. In North Carolina, a site has to be at least 10 acres to be legally considered a farm.

This idea of what farms “should” be makes it tough to get funding, insurance, and zoning approval for urban greenhouses and aquaculture. That’s a bummer, because these farms work great in urban areas. They bring jobs and food security. And since cities already have sewer systems these farms can tap into, it can be cleaner and cheaper to put these farms in cities than in rural areas.

Our policy doesn’t recognize that, though. And since we can’t build commercial-size urban farms, the only kind we have are tiny ones for education and community-building. They’re great- but they’re not a food system. That leads Americans to think that’s all urban farms can be: cute little playgrounds, but not a real source of food and jobs.

A man wearing an apron walking indoors, past a large collection of leafy green plants growing in a greenhouse, with irrigation pipes visible above the plants.
Superior Fresh: a commercial-scale aquaponics farm that grows greens and salmon year-round indoors in Wisconsin. I helped launch this facility close to a decade ago!

We need leadership that recognizes urban agriculture is a real, viable business, not a gimmick. We need someone who will work closely with lenders and zoning boards to build local food systems wherever they make sense- including growing food in cities. We need a leader who recognizes a big opportunity when she sees one.

Sarah and Julian Jacobs standing in a pink-lighted room, looking at a wall of growing plants.
Checking out the crop with Julian Jacobs of Adrina Farms in Charlotte, NC. Because financing and zoning weren’t made with urban farms in mind, it took Julian over a year to set up two tiny shipping containers.

It’s great to see someone making it work despite the roadblocks. I just wish I could’ve seen fifty other farms in Charlotte like this one. I look forward to working with state and local lawmakers to make that happen. North Carolinians deserve opportunity and good, clean, local food.Green button that says "donate!"

I can’t make it happen without you. Thanks to everyone who’s already supported the campaign. And if you can, chip in to help me make this real!


About Dr. Sarah Taber:

Dr. Taber’s roots in agriculture run deep. Born to a military family with roots in Harlan County, Kentucky, she helped operate her family’s small holdings and took field, garment shop, and factory jobs to pay for school. At a young age, Sarah learned that romanticizing farms doesn’t put food on the table. Agriculture has to be a viable livelihood or it’s just not worth doing.


Alongside her work with family farms, Dr. Taber helped launch a series of vegetable greenhouses and indoor farms that are now worth over $4 billion. This experience taught her how to bring new people and perspectives into agriculture. Failure is common in the highly competitive greenhouse sector—but all of Dr. Taber’s clients are still in operation, including those who began with little or no experience in agriculture. All too often, our leaders treat the loss of farms and farmers as inevitable. But it’s not! Dr. Taber is an agricultural leader with a track record of growing new farm businesses and bringing new people into farming.


Sarah Taber is raising her family in Fayetteville, North Carolina, where her husband teaches at Fayetteville State.



Sarah Taber for NC

PO Box 53946

Fayetteville, NC 28305


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