People-First Provisions is a business unit of People-First Tourism Inc., NC State University’s first tech-based social-startup. P1t has been connecting discerning travelers with genuine experiences provided by local people in destination communities in North Carolina and internationally since 2012 (www.peoplefirsttourism.com).
In 2018 our company started collaborating with NC State’s Vacationer Supported Agriculture project (www.forktofarmer.com/vsa) to make bags of local produce available to vacationers in the NC coast. As illustrated in the short animation below, NC State’s project team and county Extension partners coordinate groups of local farmers in the growing, packaging and delivery of bags of local produce to pick-up locations convenient to vacationers. In turn, our company collaborates with select vacation rental companies to market the bags to vacationers.
In 2021 the Vacationer Supported Agriculture Team was honored to receive the Opal Mann Green Award, one of the highest awards of distinction offered by NC State University through its Office of Outreach and Engagement
Vacationer Supported Agriculture is supported by a grant from the NC Tobacco Trust Fund Commission and has been recognized as a program of excellence by the following organizations
More and more people enjoy local foods in their lives, but when they go on vacation they struggle to conveniently find fresh produce from local farmers. Through our partnership with Extension and other agriculture and local foods organizations in destination communities, we developed relationships with groups of local farmers and with vacation home rental agencies to make it very convenient for you to order fresh produce from the destination communities you visit. Through our Provisions web marketplace, you can easily pre-order locally-sourced bags of produce well in advance of your summer vacation. As we receive your orders of produce bags, we send regular sales numbers and payments to the farmers and coordinate with them the packaging of the fresh produce bags the day before your arrival and the delivery to a convenient pick-up location at your vacation destination. All you have to do is pick up the bag(s) once you arrive.
Industrious Local Farmers
Farmers are consummate entrepreneurs and innovators who cope with increasingly volatile climate conditions and intensely competitive business environments to draw livelihoods from their land, support their families and supply us with fresh, delicious and healthy food. We work with multi-generational family farms and with groups of farmers coordinated by community nonprofits and local Extension offices. Our NC State partners communicate with these groups of farmers throughout the year, sharing feedback from vacationers (for example this technical report from 2019), providing training on packaging and food safety, discussing which produce to grow, etc.
Recent research from NC State  revealed that farmers that are connected with Extension offices, other support organizations and private companies like P1t, become more innovative and are more likely to diversify their farm businesses by becoming directly involved in tourism. So, when you buy produce bags from Provisions you are supporting the long term viability of farms near your destination as well as the wellbeing of rural North Carolina.
The Wooten family from Bear Ridge Farm supplying Provisions bags in Surf City and Topsail Beach since 2019.
Community-focused Vacation Home Rental Companies
Tiffany Williams, of Tiffany Beach Properties in Bald Head Island, has been a valued partner since 2019.
When on vacation you surely want to make sure your experience is fun and invigorating, AND you probably would like to know that your visit is helping improve the wellbeing of the local community. Vacationers can just tell when they are welcomed by their hosts.
A sure way to ensure that your vacation brings desired benefits to the host community is to stay with hospitality businesses that are community-focused… i.e., they hire local staff, purchase services from small local businesses, and connect their guests with genuine local experiences, services, and products.
The vacation home rental companies that partner with us are recommended by local organizations and by the local farmers. They do not earn income from produce bag sales – they help us market the bags to their guests because they feel that this is a service appreciated by their guests and because they want to contribute to the collective wellbeing of their communities.