Alma Mater: North Carolina State University ’07, Colorado State University ’13
Hometown: Hickory, NC
Hi. I’m a North Carolina native with degrees from NCSSM (where I met my late wife Helen Chappell) and NC State (c/o 2007). After college, I worked as an apprentice at CEFS and developed a deep love for farming and creative solutions to farming’s problems. My partner Helen and I then moved to Colorado where I studied ecology at Colorado State University. My thesis project investigated the effects of grazing on soil carbon in pastures along the Virginia Blue Ridge.
After grad school, I moved to Athens, GA to develop educational programs and farm at Spring Valley EcoFarms, a non-profit education farm. I learned a lot about marketing and sold through Athens Locally Grown, the country’s first online farmers’ market. The experience convinced me that online markets (with a weekly pop-up market) can move tons of food, benefiting both producers and eaters.
I’m now working to bring the Open Food Network (facebook) to North America. Open Food Net is an open source vitual foodhub that extends on the online farmers market idea. It is designed to help farmers sell to more than one buyer including multi-farm CSAs, foodhubs, food coops, restaurants and online farmers’ markets. Check out the test server here.
UPDATE: Eric and Little Bear were struck by tragedy in April 2014, when Helen fell ill with flu then developed ARDS and a systemic MRSA infection. Although Eric and Ursula are grappling with her death, Eric is developing new partnerships to bring goMarket and the Open Food Network to life. He is also a fellow at Bull City Forward.
Co-Founder & Board Member Emerita, SEEDSnc
Executive Director, Bull City Forward
Director of Resources, HQ Raleigh (formerly founder and executive director at Raleigh City Farm)
Founder, Urban Strategy
Founder, Kedge Conservation