Michelle Leek is one native North Carolinian who is passionate about food. "I love going to the market, getting a bunch of great food, putting it all out on the counter and seeing what I can create from it." Leek, a graduate of Belmont Abbey College, is a sales associate for Grateful Growers, a local, sustainable farm in Denver, N.C., that humanely raises chickens and pigs. Some of their pork can be found in Charlotte eateries like Customshop and Carpe Diem.
Creative Loafing: What made you want to work for Grateful Growers?
Leek: Well, the story is actually quite funny. I am an English major, but I have always been interested in food. I used to go to their booth at the farmers market, and we just got to talking. And it grew from there. I like knowing where my food comes from. Food tells a story. It tells our story, and it's good to know the people who help write that story.
Do you think that concern about chemicals in our food is making people buy products from your farm?
Actually, not as much as you would think. A lot of people think it is more expensive than it actually is. What I want people to understand is when you buy from us, you buy from your neighbor. The more people become educated, the more they buy, the lower prices go. Our products are raised in the best conditions, fed an all-natural diet and we take great care in making sure that we do everything with respect to nature.
What do you like most about your job?
I love the fact that I get to educate people about what we do. I am proud of everything we do, and I am honored to be a part of it.