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'The Farmery' Wants To Reinvent The Grocery Store

The Farmery at American Tobacco
Leoneda Inge

There’s a movement in the Triangle to reinvent the grocery store.  A prototype of this new urban market is open for business at American Tobacco in Durham.  It’s called The Farmery

The urban market is made out of a converted 20 foot by eight foot shipping container with living wall planters hanging outside.  The concept of The Farmery is to grow and sell at the same site.

“Almost every person that walks by asks us a question, when, where, why, how, what’s this for?” 

That’s Ben Greene, founder of The Farmery.  The idea grew out of his thesis project at N.C. State.

“We actually grow some of the food here. On one side we have the shelving, on the other side we have lettuces and herbs so when they’re done growing we can flip them around so customers can harvest their own food," said Greene.

Chris Mesecar is President of The Art Institute of Raleigh-Durham at American Tobacco.  He says as soon as he heard about The Farmery, he ran down to take a look.

"I was actually coming down to see if there were opportunities for us to do something together because we have a student restaurant," said Mesecar. "To feature, local, organic, that is something that interests me and our students."

The Farmery retail space has been open for just over a week.  Greene and his friends farm a lot of the food in Clayton.  His partner, Tyler Nethers, is responsible for creating innovative growing techniques. 

Burt's Bees invested $10,000 into the project.  Greene and his team raised $25,000 in a successful Kick Starter campaign to help get the doors open.  The Farmery is open Monday through Saturday.

Leoneda Inge is the co-host of WUNC's "Due South." Leoneda has been a radio journalist for more than 30 years, spending most of her career at WUNC as the Race and Southern Culture reporter. Leoneda’s work includes stories of race, slavery, memory and monuments. She has won "Gracie" awards, an Alfred I. duPont Award and several awards from the Radio, Television, Digital News Association (RTDNA). In 2017, Leoneda was named "Journalist of Distinction" by the National Association of Black Journalists.
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