In this interview, T. McLeod talks about his experiences in running his own organics business, McLeod Organics, and his transition from farmer to seller in north Mecklenburg county. Mr. McLeod begins by detailing how he originally got into farming, discussing his family’s past and mentioning his early organic gardening experiences with his family. He moves, later, into how he switched from farming into the organics business discussing how he saw a need in the market due to his own experiences and difficulties in organic farming. As the interview progress, the subject matter switches to the current difficulties in remaining an organic provider in the face of increasing expansion and regulations. Mr. McLeod also goes into an in-depth discussion on homegrown medicines and how he predicts and reacts to that market. The interview ends with a conversation about community involvement in his market as well as hopes and predictions on the future of organic growing in Mecklenburg and surrounding counties.
|0:00:07||Introduction of interview and interviewer|
|0:01:17||The beginnings of McLeod Organics|
|0:02:39||Discussion of difficulties starting out in farming for McLeod|
|0:03:37||T. McLeod details his family’s farming past|
|0:06:01||Running McLeod Organics and current farm work|
|0:07:07||Growing for farmers markets before starting business|
|0:08:21||Forming relationships with other farmers.|
|0:09:24||Information about Bradrord Farm|
|0:11:57||How McLeod Organics started in the Bradford Store|
|0:14:07||Challenges in offering and maintaining organic product|
|0:19:52||Challenges of smaller farms and Bradford Farm of remaining certified organic.|
|0:22:54||The type of people who sell their product at the Bradford Store|
|0:25:13||Getting into the natural health product market|
|0:30:22||Process of getting soil to satisfactory level for organic growth|
|0:32:09||T. discusses other regulations for farming he experiences|
|0:34:09||Community outreach efforts and education|
|0:40:44||T talks about the experience he wants people to have at his store|
|0:44:15||Final question and concluding remarks|
>> Bradley Holt: Good afternoon, my name is Bradley Holt of UNC Charlotte, working on the Queen’s Garden oral histories of the Piedmont food shed. Today is March 12th and I am sitting down today with T McLeod at his general store here in North Mecklenburg County. So I’ll just let you introduce yourself real quick.
>> T. McLeod: My name is T McLeod, owner and operator of McLeod Organics at the Bradford Store located on Highway 73, in, go with Mecklenburg Country, actual address is Huntersville, North Carolina.
>> T. McLeod: I’ve owned this business for eight years and been a part of North Mecklenburg County all my life.
I grew up in the area and product Charlotte-Mecklenburg School System. North Mecklenburg High School was where I graduated. For Huntersville Elementary and Alexander Junior High School at that point in time.
>> Bradley Holt: All right, so would you mind telling me the story behind the McLeod Organics. How did you get your start here?
>> T. McLeod: I got my start because I had been an organic farmer and grower for a number of years and I always had trouble finding the things that I needed to use in my own farming endeavors. So I thought if I was having problems probably everybody else was having problems.
So I decided to start a business specializing in organic supplies for gardening, landscaping. Also included organic live stock grains for chickens and goats and rabbits and all when I started the business. I had a vision, knowing a little bit about human health, that the business would eventually transcend into human health and personal care products.
And then, also, completing the process two years ago, I started the operations of what was then known as The Bradford Store. And specializing in organic foodstuffs that are gown here on the farm or in relationships that I have with other local farmers in this area.
>> Bradley Holt: Okay, so your interest in organic work came about because you had difficulty previously when you were working [LAUGH].
>> T. McLeod: That’s correct, yes.
>> Bradley Holt: Okay, what sort of difficulties did you run into before you started here?
>> T. McLeod: Looking for good quality organic fertilizers, soils amendments that I was looking to use as far as micro nutrients and also biological cool products as far as the abundance of microbial life and soils.
>> Bradley Holt: Have other farmers around the area kind of gone through similar issues if they’ve been focused in organics that you know of?
>> T. McLeod: They have and continue to have, and I always try to be a resource for them as far as providing products that they can use or being able to provide knowledge of where they could find things that perhaps I don’t carry.
>> Bradley Holt: Okay, now, was farming something that run through your family? Or was it just something when you were younger you just kinda have an interest in doing it?
>> T. McLeod: Yep, it did run through my family. My father grew up on a family farm in Eastern North Carolina in the town of Broadway North Carolina, which is about eight miles east of Sanford.