Blair Houtz, Project Manager, is new to our staff as of January 2022 but has been working with Feast Down East since the Spring of 2020 when the local video production company he co-founded assisted us at the beginning of COVID with food drives for Farmer Relief and (food-deserted) Elderly Relief— two of Blair’s favorite kinds of people. Maybe it’s because he grew up on a biodiverse family farm within the forests of Garner, NC where his grandparents maintained all of the things a savvy farmer should here in NC: blueberries, collards, sweet potatoes, watermelon, tomatoes, okra, squash, radishes, cucumbers, and “miles of muscadines all gilded green glimmering in the sunlight” Blair recalls now. You name it; Elmo would grow it and Alice would preserve it. They would then give it all away to their neighbors, family, and church family. Blair will tell you his instincts for sustainability, community service, serenity, and munificence come from his grandparents. He was first introduced to Wilmington during his college days at UNCW (2012-2016) where he graduated with a degree in English. He moved back home briefly before heading back to Wilmington in 2018 to work in the film industry and would within a year form the aforementioned production company, Boot Scrap, with his friend from childhood. Since then he has worked with local organizations like Plastic Ocean Project, Keep New Hanover Beautiful, Boys & Girls Club, Skywatch Bird Rescue, Cape Fear River Watch, the U.S. Composting Council, Historic Wilmington Foundation, and many more— diving head first into this community; and now “in Wilmington, like the 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon there is a 3 degrees of Blair Houtz” (FDE board member, Cara Stretch). If he hasn’t met you, he really wants to.
Blair is especially enthusiastic for the Community Learning Farm & Food Forest project which unites all of his passions and experiences in one beautiful opportunity for a surrounding community which is “the most severe Food Desert in the whole county” (per the 2022 data review by Cape Fear Collective). As Project Manager Blair will be working with our Community Advocate Nate to assess community needs, identify community partners, and work with NHC Extension— as well as the community, of course— in developing a strategic plan for the Urban Learning Farm to be actualized at its best.
When he isn’t working for Feast Down East Blair is likely reading or writing, or on a walk around downtown or a nearby nature park; or possibly playing pickle ball, or popping up peddling popsicles (for his company Cropsicle), or perhaps participating in a protest picketing the pesky projects perpetually proposed for the West Bank of the Cape Fear River. You never know what he’s going to take on next, but whatever it is he’s always willing to set it aside to help someone in need.