- Goldmine: Root
- Oral History Collections
- The Queen's Garden: Oral Histories of the Piedmont Foodshed
- Lara Hall oral history interview, 2019 March 29
Lara Hall oral history interview, 2019 March 29
Lara Hall, co-owner of Hall Family Farms in Charlotte, North Carolina, describes the history of the farm dating back to the 1920s. The farm originally grew cotton and leased the land to sharecroppers, but the present owners have tried to grow everything from trees, lettuce and cantaloupes to the current crops of strawberries and pumpkins. The Halls, (both former engineers) now focus on agritourism rather than retailing or wholesaling their products. Mrs. Hall discusses the history and the legacy of the farm, its interaction with the local community, and the challenges that the farm faces in its day-to-day operations. Some of these challenges include rainy weather conditions; shortage of labor experienced by their vendors due to immigration laws (but not the Halls themselves); and how they deal with pests. She explains the processes of growing strawberries and pumpkins, and the advantages of urban and spot farming. Additionally, it is interesting to hear how Kevin Hall puts his engineering skills to use by making equipment for the farm. There is obvious joy in Mrs. Hall's voice as she talks about the educational benefits the children get when they visit their farm. This interview clearly illustrates the trials and triumphs of urban farming as the Halls have found a way to survive without having to face competition from corporate farming.