Women in Ag: Charlotte Regional Farmers Market Manager Amie Newsome

by | Mar 21, 2024

March is celebrated as National Women’s Month, a time to recognize the many accomplishments of women. There’s a common misconception that agriculture is a male-driven field. In North Carolina, there’s many trail-blazing women that are not only making their impact felt at the farm level, but also on national agricultural boards, leading as ag researchers and professors at our universities and companies and as owners of processing plants and other ag-related businesses. The latest Census of Agriculture shows that 33 percent of all agriculture producers in North Carolina are female. Women run nearly 22,000 farms in the state with an average farm size of 131 acres and average total production value of $353,278.

The North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services also benefits from the knowledge and leadership of women with nearly half of the leadership positions at the department filled by women.
The Marketing Division of the NCDA&CS has women running farmers markets, ag centers and many of the programs that support farmers in the state. These women demonstrate a passion for the industry, decades of experience and a solid base of guidance and support for the farmers, vendors and consumers they serve. This week we are introducing you to a few of the women that help promote agriculture through their roles at the NCDA&CS. Today we highlight Amie Newsome, manager of the Charlotte Regional Farmers Market. 

Amie Newsome has been manager of the Charlotte Regional Farmers Market for the past nine years. The facility is home to more than 230 vendors during the growing season. Year round it is home for vendors selling produce, plants, specialty products and more.

Newsome supervises a staff of five full time workers and one part time worker. Her job includes interviewing prospective vendors, answering questions from the public and current vendors, managing the market’s social media accounts and planning special events.

“Our market has a diverse group of people who have a wide array of products,” said Newsome. “They are all so passionate about what they do and sell.” More than half a million people visit the Charlotte Regional Farmers Market each year. Newsome has seen growing interest from visitors in learning about where their food comes from. “Younger generations especially want to be connected to the products that they buy,” she said. “Shopping at the market means they are often meeting the individuals that grew or made these products firsthand. It is a great place to connect.”
The market also hosts many special events to encourage customers to come out and spend some time and has several food trucks on site. Upcoming events include Pictures with Piglets on April 7 and a 40th birthday celebration for the farmers market on May 5.

Newsome earned her bachelor’s degree in horticulture and a masters in parks, recreation, tourism and sport management at N.C. State University. During college she worked at garden centers and wholesale nurseries. After college she worked as an ag teacher at Southern Vance High School and a commercial horticulture extension agent for Johnston County. Newsome said that moving to Charlotte to serve as farmers market manager was an adjustment, especially getting used to the traffic. “The farmers market position allowed me to pull from what I learned as an extension agent and a teacher to help with questions our customers had about agriculture,” she said. “Our market is a great destination for the community with something for everyone from our Got to Be NC variety shops to our pop-up market area to our produce and plants. We also offer free educational tours for school groups, camps and churches.”

Newsome loves many aspects of her role as manager, but she said the best part is when vendors grow big enough to move on from their market spot. “I love the entrepreneurial spirit of our vendors,” she said. “Mom-and-pop stores are not really around as much anymore which means a lot of people get their start selling at the market. It is rewarding to see vendors grow their business through returning customers, social media accounts and hard work. Sometimes their business does outgrow the market, but I am super proud they got their start here.”