And so in 2012, they created Mother Earth Produce, a food hub and delivery service that makes sustainably-grown local produce accessible and convenient to everyone. In addition to produce, Mother Earth also provides meats, dairy, eggs, bread and pantry items, which are delivered to customers’ doorsteps in re-usable bins with customized contents. 

Our Role

When their customer base began to grow, Mother Earth’s single delivery van wasn’t enough. They applied for a micro-loan from the Natural Capital Investment Fund (NCIF) to acquire a second delivery van to support their expanding business. As their success continued, they needed a larger space for storing and packing fresh food for delivery. With help from another NCIF loan, they were able to move into a warehouse at Smith Mill Works, a former poinsettia farm whose five acres of greenhouses and warehouse space laid dormant for 15 years before becoming home to local growers and sustainable businesses. The loan helped them renovate the property, purchase new equipment, such as a walk-in cooler and freezers, and provided working capital to hire more staff and purchase a third delivery van.

Now, they are working with 30 local farmers and food artisans, all using sustainable practices to grow and produce the food they supply to Mother Earth. They pack more than 200 customized bins of local, organic food for delivery per day, and employ five full-time staff. As they continue to grow, they are looking into even more possibilities to, “bring the farmers market to your door,” such as public pickup and drop off locations in convenient places—like businesses or day care centers—throughout the community.

“We all share this passion to change the food system,” said Andrea

Why This Project Matters

Mother Earth Produce is making local, healthy food more accessible to everyone in Western North Carolina and Upstate South Carolina by providing a direct connection between consumers and the farmers who are growing and producing it. In addition to providing better food options to consumers, Mother Earth Produce is supporting local growers and producers who are using sustainable practices – supporting the health of both the people and the environment. 

“Supporting local farmers and artisan producers promotes a strong economy and merchant-to-consumer accountability, and it gives families the convenience of a home-delivered farmers market. The capital support from NCIF and guidance from Erika McGilley allowed us to expand our business, and we take pride in being a direct connection between local farms and customers’ front doors.”
—Andrea and Graham Duvall