Fostering connection in unexpected ways

By Camilla Posthill

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My name is Camilla, and I've been working at Farmer Foodshare for about two years now. BUT, I first got to know Farmer Foodshare by volunteering four years ago. Then and now, I have always been impressed with Farmer Foodshare's ability to make connections and forge partnerships that work for everyone involved. Our hashtag is so perfect for that reason! #EverybodyWins

I think our strength in creating meaningful partnerships is successful because we are community driven - it's one of our organization's stated values. Farmer Foodshare recognizes that in order to close the gap between the world we have and the world we want, we have to listen and learn from those we serve. Farmer Foodshare is proud to support over 600 family farmers across North Carolina through our Donation Station and Wholesale Market programs...but we are always on the lookout for unique opportunities to connect people who grow food with people who need food.

Here's a story that illustrates how Farmer Foodshare connected two like-minded organizations - Leaf & Limb and Sankofa Farms - through a group volunteer project to make sure more fresh, local food gets to people who need it!

Meet Kamal Bell...

Durham middle school teacher. Beginning, small scale, farmer of color. Committed to making fresh food accessible to low-income minority groups in Durham County.

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Kamal Bell operates Sankofa Farms, LLC. He also started an Agricultural Academy on Sankofa Farms in order to teach young black men living in low-income neighborhoods of Durham County about the history and vocation of farming. Kamal helps these youth understand the legacy of race and farming for African Americans, and he's empowering these young people to take the knowledge and skills they obtain at Sankofa Farms, LLC back into their communities. He's creating pathways for healthy living as well as careers.

One thirteen year old I met at Sankofa told me he loved taking care of the animals on the farm, and as we were hacking away at weeds, we also talked about his plans to become a veterinarian in the future. Kamal's approach to alleviating food insecurity among minority groups and addressing systemic racial equity issues is aligned with Farmer Foodshare's value to securing food justice for all.

Meet Leaf & Limb...

Local tree care and tree service company. Mission: deliver exceptional services and use their success to create positive impact for their employees, the community, and the planet.

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Leaf & Limb's commitment to community outreach is impressive, and their Project Pando is their way of making a meaningful, positive impact in the Triangle area. If you get to meet the owner of Leaf & Limb, Basil Camu, you know you are dealing with an honest, generous person who truly wants to do the best for his employees, clients and the community at large. I cannot say enough good things about the amazing work ethic and positive attitudes that his employees demonstrated during this group volunteer project!

Leaf & Limb's community-driven approach to service and sustainability for healthier people and a healthier world aligns with Farmer Foodshare's vision for a healthy, local sustainable food system.

The Problem

Sankofa Farms is 12 acres, but Kamal has only been able to farm on about half an acre. The rest of the land had not been cleared properly. There were tree stumps, weeds, rocks and trash that needed to be removed in order to get this land farm-ready!

The Solution

21 Leaf & Limb treecologists came out in the pouring rain, got so muddy and donated 4 hours of hard labor to help Sankofa Farms, LLC improve its infrastructure! Sankofa Farms now has close to 2 acres of land that can be farmed!

The treecologists removed tree stumps, dug trenches for fields, removed dangerous dry wood piles, garbage, rock quartz and even made time to build a new home for the guinea fowls that had escaped two weeks earlier.

The Impact

Because of Leaf & Limb’s hard work, Kamal can continue to grow his educational farm and continue his important work teaching young black men living in low-income neighborhoods of Durham County about the history and vocation of farming. The food Kamal produces will be sold and made accessible to low-income residents of Durham County. If you would like more information on Sankofa Farms or want to join their newsletter, please visit the Sankofa Farms website

Farmer Foodshare wants to thank Leaf & Limb for making a difference in the life of this farmer and all the families he works with! We are inspired, energized and incredibly appreciative to Leaf & Limb and Sankofa Farms, LLC. for donating their time and talents to make our community a healthier place to live!