In July of this year I was contracted by Heifer International to help them assess the impact of one of their grants. The grant was to help a local North Carolina farmer start up a butcher shop in Lansing, NC. Lansing is officially listed as a town, but could more accurately be described as a village. Its population has never quite reached 300 and currently sits at around 160, having lost 44% of its population since 1960. While it still has its fair bit of mountain charm, there just hasn’t been enough happening in Lansing in recent years to keep residents sticking around. The grant from Heifer and the opening of the butcher shop has been instrumental in helping them achieve a sustainable economic recovery, though the effects may not be seen instantly.
How much, after all, can one tiny shop really do to change a community? The answer, in this case, is a little bit of everything. Continue reading