It is important to understand that Agri-Commerce is not the same thing as Agri-Business or Agri-Tourism. Agri-Business is usually a global market of giant corporate food processors that may not have the best paying jobs. That’s not what we’re looking for with Agri-Commerce. Agri-Tourism is a good thing for sure, and we do want it. It’s about agricultural-related facilities and events that bring people from outside of the community in for entertainment purposes (e.g., tourism). Again, that’s great, but that’s not the same as Agri-Commerce. Agri-Commerce is an entrepreneurial, small-business-based marketplace existing around food (production, selling, delivery, preparation, and consumption). It’s the farm-to-table movement. Think craft beer, microgreens, local produce served at local restaurants, and so on. This is a growing marketplace that has seen much success in small towns across North and South Carolina. Often, businesses serve both the Agri-Commerce and the Agri-Tourism markets – promoting an Ag Lifestyle. Just look at Windy Hill, Bush n Vine, and Black’s Peaches. This is great for the community and should be supported.
York is uniquely positioned to be a leader in the regional Agri-Commerce marketplace. York can be the connector between the market of the eastern part of the county and the land of the western part of the county. The convergence of these can be an active commercial and consumer market. This applies to services as well as to locally grown and produced foods and goods. It could be a marketplace that serves the local community, the region, and through the Internet, the nation and the world. York could have a food and agriculture identity that, when combined with the history and arts of a quaint but vibrant downtown, makes York is a unique and compelling place. Plus, York’s success in this arena would be to great advantage to the county at large. It would help keep Western York County rural by helping it become productive in producing food. And it would help keep Eastern York County supplied so the restaurants have locally sourced foods for their spending customers.