- Goldmine: Root
- Oral History Collections
- The Queen's Garden: Oral Histories of the Piedmont Foodshed
- Thomas E. Barbee oral history interview, 2019 March 05
Thomas E. Barbee oral history interview, 2019 March 05
Tommy Barbee, fifth-generation owner of T.&A. Barbee Family Farm located in Concord, North Carolina, discusses the changes he has witnessed in farming over the course of his lifetime. He recounts assisting his grandparents and parents on the farm growing up in the 1960s and 1970s as well as his father's focus on pork production. He explains why he did not originally want his son Brent to become a full time farmer due to the low income farming provides, but is now pleased with the decision. Mr. Barbee describes Brent's initiatives and changes to the farm's operation, bringing all 70 acres into full production with more diversification of crops and an increased workforce via the H-2A agricultural work program. He mentions the decline in local farming due to the Food Modernization Act, which put stricter regulations on food products grown in the United States. He explains how the widening of I-85 would have cut his farm in half if his customer base had not come out in support of his farm at the public meeting for the widening. Mr. Barbee also discusses how the market determines what products they grow on the farm, which include for example kale, strawberries, and rosemary plants.