James Swofford, The Chef’s Farmer

Old North Farm
Grant Award: $6,000

Having operated a successful farming business since 2012, James grows one acre of specialty ingredients for chefs and supplies boutique heirloom produce, culinary herbs, edible flowers and foraged ingredients to restaurants and breweries in the Piedmont.

A Cleveland County native, James has returned to western NC permanently and has started a new farm venture on his family’s third-generation farm in Shelby, where he will be farming 2.5 acres. In order to scale up, his grant will pay for a BCS walk-behind tractor with a power harrow attachment that will be used to establish new beds and assist with the labor required to grow and maintain the farm. This piece of equipment will be critical for managing the farm and allowing James to scale up production.

Because of his experience marketing to restaurants, his success with value added-products (he has produced a line of non-alcoholic beverages called Old North Shrub), and his notoriety in the Charlotte area and beyond, he has many marketing contacts and established outlets for sale. He is eager to bring his unique offerings to Cleveland County and reestablish himself as part of the local farming community.


Cleveland County

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