Tours to stress local food, health

The second annual Charlotte Area Farm Tour will take participants to 27 farms Sept. 18-19, including fruit and vegetable growers, livestock producers, North Carolina's first certified organic dairy and even an ostrich farm.

Organizing the tour is Davidson-based, family-run Know Your Farms LLC, which provides alternative distribution methods for products of local farms.

The tour will show children where their food comes from. Children will be able to interact with cows, pigs, chickens, goats and sheep. Adults will learn about natural and sustainable production methods they can use in their backyard gardens. They'll also get cooking and nutritional tips for preparing healthy meals, said Diana Vossbrinck of the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association.

Michael Smith of the Carolinas Natural Health Center will be on hand to explain the relationship between local food and wellness.

The self-guided tour will be from 1:30 to 6:30 p.m. both days.

Some of the local farms are Birdbrain Ostrich Ranch in Sherrills Ford, Rivendell Farms of Huntersville, KC Farms of Mooresville, Barbee Farms and the Elma C. Lomax Incubator Farm Park in Concord, Dover Vineyards in Concord, Lucky Leaf in Harrisburg and Marvin's Fresh Farmhouse Restaurant in Mount Pleasant.

To take the tour, get a map and buy a vehicle pass, visit Vehicle passes and maps also are available at the Bradford Store & Farm, 15915 Davidson-Concord Road (N.C. 73) in Huntersville; the Milky Way, 1419 East Blvd., Charlotte; and the Common Market, 2007 Commonwealth Ave. and 1515 S. Tryon St., Charlotte.

Cost is $25 in advance per vehicle or cycle group. Passes are also available at each farm on tour days for $30. Proceeds support the work of Know Your Farms.

The Palace lands first tenant

The Palace, a former 12-screen theater beside the Kenton Place retail center, has signed a church as its first tenant.

Community Outreach Church of God in Christ will lease 2,000 square feet beginning Wednesday, the building's owner announced last week.

8325 Copely Drive LLC, based in Santa Monica, Calif., bought the closed Palace in 2005. The theater was built in 2000 and has been vacant since 2003, when it was closed by the owner of the nearby movie theater at Birkdale Village.

The two-story, 42,000-square-foot Palace theater building has about 300 parking spaces on 4.25 acres.

Its owner has targeted community, cultural and arts groups to fill the property. The nearby Havana Social Club also is scheduled to move to the Palace.

Community Outreach Church will offer a Wednesday evening Bible study group at 7 and Sunday services with breakfast at 10 a.m. The church also offers family counseling, post-traumatic stress counseling and community outreach programs.

The church plans to hold an evening concert series in coming months, said Charles Carter, minister of music and administration.

Palace leasing information: Maura Reddington of Platinum Realty Management Inc., 704-892-7636;

Early enrollment for planned Catholic high school

Early ninth-grade enrollment for the 2011-12 school year begins Wednesday for a planned Catholic high school in the Huntersville area.

At least 100 ninth-graders must register by Sept. 30 for Christ the King High School to open, said officials with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte.. Details are at

Officials are looking for a temporary space to lease and renovate north of Charlotte. They're scouting the Sam Furr Road/N.C. 73 corridor east of Interstate 77 for a permanent site.

The school would be the Charlotte area's second Catholic high school. Charlotte Catholic High School is on Pineville-Matthews Road.

Burr tours Microban International

As part of a tour of businesses in eight counties, Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., visited Microban International in The Park off Interstate 77 Huntersville Exit 23 on Aug. 19.

Burr toured the facility and spoke to Microban's chemists, microbiologists, engineers and marketing/sales experts.

Microban International Ltd. is a world leader in antimicrobial protection found in hundreds of consumer, industrial and medical products.

Also on hand were Bill Russell of the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce, Jerry Broadway of the Lake Norman Regional Economic Development Corp. and Huntersville Town Manager Greg Ferguson.