Renaissance SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURISM
BY PAT BRADFORD | PHOTOGRAPHY BY HARRY TAYLOR
The Burgaw Autumn Harvest was held Nov. 2, 2019, at the Burgaw Train Depot hosted by Richard and
Carole Johnson, showcasing Johnson’s latest venture, Burgaw Now. The antebellum rail depot, built circa
1850 and renovated in 2009, is located along the path of the former Wilmington to Weldon railroad. It is
home to the town’s chamber of commerce, a banquet hall, a rail museum, and a shared-use commercial
The event included a sit-down meal that showcased ingredients from three Pender and Brunswick county
farms, prepared by chef Dean Neff, a James Beard Award semi-finalist and former owner and head chef of
Pinpoint in downtown Wilmington.
Johnson began making trips into Burgaw for coffee and lunch and stopping at the hardware store after
purchasing a farm in the area several years ago. Over time he fell in love with the community, but he says
the town “has lost its mojo.” Changing demographics over the last 50 years have made it hard for small, rural
North Carolina towns to thrive. Johnson, known for founding masonboro.org in 2009, felt the pull to help.
WBM december 2019