Ken Dawson was one of the first farmers in Orange county North Carolina to understand the value and importance of organic farming. Maple Spring Gardens in Cedar Grove, N.C. was founded in 1972 and from its inception, growing food in an environmentally sound and organic way was the only way that Dawson would operate his farm. "Understanding how the food that we consume daily is cultivated is very important and cannot be taken for granted", said Dawson. Maple Spring Gardens, certified organic produce, is highly sought after by several local restaurants, specialty stores, and farmers markets. This is a testament to the passion, vision, and commitment Dawson has to the environment and to the people who consume his produce.

Ken Dawson, owner of Maple Spring Gardens in Cedar Grove, NC walks through his organic farmland early in the morning on Nov. 13, 2017. "I was the first certified organic farmer in the area... as you can see I farm a wide variety of organically grown produce and I have been here since 1972.

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In Cedar Grove, N.C. on Nov. 13, 2017, Ken Dawson checks on his crop of strawberries. Dawson said, "You have to constantly pay attention to the weather and how it affects your crops... the unpredictable weather lately has been rough on small farms in the area."

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In Cedar Grove, N.C. on Nov. 13, 2017. When asked what he hoped to achieve when he first started farming this land Ken Dawson said, "My goal has always been to run a profitable organic farm while also being a good steward of the land."

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Early morning dew falls from the leaves of a brussel sprout plant in Cedar Grove, N.C. on Nov. 13, 2017. Ken Dawson unveils his plant's hidden gems. Dawson is proud of his brussel sprouts stating proudly, "I like to sell my sprouts still attached to the stalk at the farmers market so people can see its natural beauty."

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In Cedar Grove, N.C. on Nov. 13, 2017. Ken Dawson inspects his greenhouse crops. "These greenhouses allow me to have produce to sell year-round, this is vital to sustain my farm", said Dawson.

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Dawson walks to the far side of the farm where his greenhouses are located in Cedar Grove, N.C. on Nov. 13, 2017. "Although difficult at times, this type of farming can be a viable way to supply organic food to the local community", said Dawson.

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In Cedar Grove, N.C. on Nov. 13, 2017. Ken Dawson rolls up a cloth blanket that provides an extra layer of protection for his lettuce against the elements. "I am glad that people are starting to care more about how their food is grown and are willing to support local organic farmers", said Dawson.

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Ken Dawson fills one of many bright yellow containers full with ginger in Cedar Grove, N.C. on Nov. 13, 2017. "This is how fresh ginger is supposed to look and smell... That stuff in the store is garbage", said Dawson.

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Ken Dawson and his worker harvest a large crop of ginger in Cedar Grove, N.C. on Nov. 13, 2017. "Most of this crop of ginger has already been sold. A large amount of my produce already has a buyer when I plant the seed in the ground", said Dawson.

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Ken Dawson sells his organic produce to customers at the Carrboro farmers market in Carrboro, N.C. on Oct. 21, 2017. "I am committed to growing good, safe food in a way that improves the land for future generations", said Dawson.

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