Foundation hopes to provide opportunity for young farming hopefuls
Posted February 5, 2020 4:53 p.m. EST
Fayetteville, N.C. — Mark Menscer walks up and down a a line of fresh hay he's just spread out for his cattle. It's a windy day and it's time for the cows to eat.
Menscer, and his wife Ally, started this small cattle farm in 2015. They also have chickens that provide fresh eggs.
"Probably 60% of everything that we eat is grown here," Menscer said.
It's a quiet life and a different one than Menscer knows in his day job.
In his other world, he's known as the "Shock Nerd," where he's used an innovative shock design to set 160 world records in the sport of drag racing. He's the owner of Menscer Motorosports which located just outside of Fayetteville.
"I've traveled the globe. I've been as successful as anyone would want," he said.
But something was missing. Menscer wanted to make more of a difference in the world, so he's using some of the money earned in his drag racing career to start a new foundation called "Pasture to Pantry."
The idea is to provide the resources for more small sustainable farms like the one he has and to inspire young people, who don't have ties to large family farms, to give agriculture a try.
"The amount of money it takes to get an operation off the ground is a barrier to entry that most of these kids can't overcome," Menscer said.
And he wants to take that barrier down, creating a way for established farmers to connect with new farmers to share knowledge and resources and find a different way to address a lack of food in certain areas of our state.
"We have to restart the whole process and teach people how to eat again. Everything doesn't come in a plastic wrapper," Menscer said.
The foundation is working on a plan to create a model to make growing food easier and to make it a source of income especially in food desserts, where grocery stores are far away or too expensive.
"If you can build something that creates an economic future for someone, while it heals the land and while it serves it's own community than i think that those things work together to make sure it continues on."
It's starting small with a dream of a man who's made his living with fast cars and is now hoping to help others return to a more traditional time...where growing what is on your plate is possible.