The Duke Office of Durham and Regional Affairs featured us in a blog post highlighting the work we do, our relationship with with Duke employee volunteers, and how this award will help Donation Stations improve and grow.
ADDRESSING FOOD INEQUITY AND BUILDING STRONG COMMUNITIES CAN START AT YOUR LOCAL FARMERS’ MARKET
Story by Alyzia McAllen
Farmer Foodshare and Duke University have an ever-growing relationship. With help from employee donations to Duke’s Community Care Fund, Farmer Foodshare is able to help community members gain access to healthy, nutritious food.
Farmer Foodshare is not your typical nonprofit. It is considered an engine of social innovation, working to remove barriers that prevent people from accessing healthy, fresh produce and the obstacles that prevent farmers from making a living.
This year, Farmer Foodshare received a grant from Duke University’s Doing Good in the Neighborhood Community Care Fund to fund volunteer training and create marketing materials to encourage the community’s participation at Donation Stations.
The Donation Station model is unusual in that it benefits both farmers and eaters, supporting a local food system that works for everyone. Funds donated by shoppers are spent with the farmers at market, helping them take home less unsold produce. Those fresh fruits and vegetables are donated that day to local organizations serving the hungry. The impact is significant: Farmer Foodshare operates nearly 40 Donation Stations statewide, serving 50 partner agencies across 16 counties. Volunteers spend more than $53,000 with local farms and amass more than 52,000 pounds of fresh produce annually to feed 20,000 community members in need. Yet there is significant opportunity for the initiative to grow, and plenty of ways to get involved.
Volunteers are critical and essential to everything Farmer Foodshare does. At least two volunteers staff each Donation Station during the farmers market, encouraging shoppers to participate. Duke students, faculty and staff play a major role as volunteers with the program.