The Farmers Fresh Market Project
A rural economic development initiative by Foothills Connect Business and Technology Center.

Foothills Connect


Foothills Connect Business and Technology Center, a not-for-profit 501c3 corporation, is a Rural Economic Development organization which seeks to develop entrepreneurship within Rutherford County, North Carolina through the extensive use of technology, particularly broadband based information systems, i.e. the Internet. (learn more at

To fulfill this mission, Foothills Connect first had to analyze the challenges posed by the county:

  • Between 1995 and 2006, Rutherford County, population of 69,000 lost approximately 6000 jobs to the process of globalization, devestating the formerly robust textile and furniture manufacturing economies in the region.
  • Due to its rural nature, more than 85% of the county’s geographic area does not have access to high speed internet.

On the other hand, Rutherford County has several very strong opportunities because of its location:

  • Charlotte, North Carolina is less than 70 miles away from Rutherford County
  • Much of Rutherford County sits in a temperature inversion plateau known as the Isothermal Belt, where a very long growing season is possible
  • Charlotte is the second fastest growing financial center in the Southeast
  • While Charlotte currently has only 10,000 residents living in its Central Business District (CBD), known as Uptown, within 5 years, planners expect 110,000 residents living within the CBD.

The Farmers Fresh Market


Since restaurants were having a difficult time procuring, through traditional sources, the fresh food demanded by this new, upscale, and quality driven crowd, an innovative food source was needed to fill the demand. Foothills Connect surmised that an Internet based food exchange that linked buyers and sellers could possibly open up an entirely new market – a new fresh food paradigm.

Thus, the Farmers Fresh Market initiative was born - a program that links buyers demanding locally grown, fresh food products with food producers from the nearby North Carolina foothills. Not only does it provide delicious, healthful, and flavorful food to consumers, but it provides an opportunity for economic advancement in rural communities and supports the appalachian agrarian tradition.

For further information, contact us!

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