Editor's note: This is the last installment in our month-long Farming Voices series. Read the other posts in the series here.
Matthew Robert Lee, "Matt," was born in Boone, N.C., and grew up in Ashe County. After working a number of jobs, Matt returned to his love, farming. He started a farm in Ashe County and volunteered with High Country Greenhouses, to develop his own skills as a farmer. When the former owners decided to retire, High Country Greenhouses was set to close. But Matt stepped in, seeing an opportunity to better himself and the community.
At the age of 26, Matt took over High Country Greenhouses and began converting many of the greenhouses to grow organic-certified produce. One of Matt’s goals in life is, “to bring self-sufficiency to the country, and one way of doing that is to create a local food economy.” Matt’s five-year goal is to become a major supplier of local food distributors, restaurants and food entrepreneurs. He already supplies a few entrepreneurs and restaurants in the area, including Rose Mountain Butcher Shoppe. Matt is one of 56 farmers, who have pledged to grow and sell locally under the leadership of Ann Rose and Blue Ridge Seeds of Change and in collaboration with Heifer’s USA Programs.