Portraits of Our Partners: Mother Earth Food
A family-owned, year-round delivery service committed to growing a resilient local food system, supporting a thriving planet, and feeding our community sustainably. We bring the farmers market to your door!
In 2012, when Andrea DuVall went searching for a delivery service that would bring the bounty of the Asheville area farmers markets right to her doorstep, she was surprised to discover that there wasn’t one. Once she became a mother, she found herself even more in need of nourishing food that was also accessible. What about all the locals who wanted farm-fresh produce but couldn’t go to the markets every week?
Born to bring nourishment right to our community’s doorsteps, Mother Earth Food is now a year-round delivery service offering the best of local produce, meat, eggs, dairy, baked goods, ferments, and other artisanal foods along 19 routes in both North and South Carolina. From the beginning, Andrea and her team built their relationships with local farmers one by one, slowly adding delivery vans and storage space in anticipation of eventually needing them. As they laid the groundwork, they were also striving to help build something bigger - a more resilient local food system.
Prioritizing the planet, feeding the community sustainably, and supporting local growers were always at the heart of Mother Earth’s mission. But when Covid-19 hit, Mother Earth received an unexpected lesson in grace, preparedness, and timing. Farmers had just started planting when the pandemic roared into Western North Carolina, and, as restaurants and farmers markets closed across the county, many growers watched the sources of their income for the year disappearing.
What began as an exceptionally frightening moment for Asheville’s local food landscape shifted as locals and farmers rose to the challenge. So many new customers turned to Mother Earth for delivery that the waiting list topped 3,000, and many of Mother Earth’s farm partners quadrupled their planting to meet the new demand. As customers, farmers, and volunteers showed up, Mother Earth was there with vans and warehouse space - everything they’d worked to put into place. Even in the midst of what felt like chaos, there was a grace, a harmony, to the way everyone came together.
Janelle Tatum, Mother Earth’s CEO, calls this a beautiful and humbling example of true community. The gratitude she and Andrea have for the people who came together to create this alignment - employees, volunteers, farmers, makers, and customers - is palpable. Janelle hopes that as we enter into a new year, we’ll carry with us this hard-won understanding of how much local food systems and the local economy really matter. Andrea continues to expand on her vision, imagining a future that includes a mentorship program for farmers that will support them in bringing in revenue, so they can do what they love.
Thank you, Mother Earth, for living your dream. Your commitment to a thriving local food system helps nourish us all!