Dear Farmer Foodshare Friends,
Thank you for your work helping to solve hunger and malnutrition in North Carolina while supporting family farms. Small actions, taken together, add up to big change. While North Carolina still leads the nation in many measures of food insecurity and there is enormous work to be done in every corner of the state, we have certainly seen some positive outcomes in 2012. One positive development is that more and more people are supporting the link between sustainable agriculture, increased food security and community economic development. We are hopeful for 2013.
Farmer Foodshare connects people who grow food with people who need food, in ways that are economically sustainable and socially just.
Why? Because there is no reason that anyone should be hungry or malnourished. There is enough good food to go around and enough community resources to support the farmers who grow healthy food in healthy ways. 40% of the fresh food produced in the United States gets thrown away! Too many family farms are barely breaking even, looking for new markets for their good food. One in four people in North Carolina does not get enough food to eat every day. There is obviously an opportunity here to make positive change!
If you’d like to support this work, please consider volunteering or donating. If you want to donate, you can double your dollars in December through a $4,000 matching grant from the Norman and Bettina Roberts Family Foundation. Volunteers of all ages are welcome. Email us at email@example.com.
Below are a few stories from 2012 or if you just want the numbers, scroll down for the bottom line.
Thank you for your help, the work you do, the food you grow and the friendship you provide to help ensure that everyone eats—enough and well—every day.
- The Farmer Foodshare Team
CONNECTING PEOPLE WHO GROW FOOD WITH PEOPLE WHO NEED FOOD
Twelve months a year, in six counties in North Carolina, Farmer Foodsharers at farmers markets connect people who grow food with people who need food, creating a bridge between local farms and agencies that serve the hungry and increase food access.
We are always astounded by the creativity and joy that this good food inspires. Check out TABLE’s “Healthy Homework” to learn about kids changing their families’ eating habits, using farm fresh food and fun snacks to increase family health.
Do you ever wish you could just get the farmers market delivered to your doorstep? Three Carrboro and Chapel Hill residents received that gift through Farm to Family CSA’s. This program provides weekly fresh food to clients identified by our agency partners as in particular need and who are not able to access other services easily. The photo below is of one of two Community Empowerment Fund clients who are receiving a vegetable and egg CSA from Coon Rock Farm. The women received prescriptions from their doctors for organic fresh food, but their food budgets could not accommodate filling these prescriptions.
We also purchased a CSA from Community Nutrition Partners’ Veggie Van for a middle school child whose mentor is trying to help her be strong enough to engage in school athletics. The mentor hopes that by supporting this child’s interest in sports, she will help the girl find meaning and purpose, graduate from high school and create lifelong health and empowerment.
Weekly Farm to Family CSA DeliveryThese are examples of people helping each other — knowing one another by name, providing tangible “person to person” care.
The Farm to Family CSA program needs more funding. The return on investment is enormous. These initial three CSA’s cost around $1800. If a box of weekly vegetables from a local farm can potentially help a child graduate from school; model community care and empowerment or help two women combat heart disease and diabetes and lessen their sick time off from work, then that is big impact from a little box of farm fresh local food.
Rest assured we understand that none of this happens for free and that “pure play” charity models aren’t necessarily sustainable, particularly in the current political and economic climate.
Communities can and should help each other, but the best way to create long-term food independence is to increase job opportunities, transform eating habits and make healthy and delicious food more accessible and affordable.
Farmer Foodshare’s POP (Pennies on the Pound) Project creates a platform for food enterprise creation. POP Food Market is our own micro-business where we try to walk the “social enterprise” talk. POP Market is a brokering service connecting NC farm food at wholesale prices with nonprofits and social mission businesses. It is the first of our “food, funds and friends” initiatives. Contact us if you want to buy or sell food through POP Food Market!
We also are working with Self-Help Credit Union, private investors and Sustainable Food NC Coalition to provide funds and friends for healthy food enterprise creation in North Carolina. More to come on that in 2013!
Hunger is the problem of a community, not an individual. Solving hunger means creating a path to food independence, not just throwing more cheap free food at a problem. The only way to solve food insecurity is to work together – innovating, inventing, collaborating and changing the structural and cultural issues that allow food insecurity to persist. Farmer Foodshare works with groups like Sustainable Food NC, the Health and Wellness Subcommittee of the statewide Sustainable Local Foods Advisory Council, the NC Conservation Network, The Conservation Fund’s Resourceful Communities and community advocates from diverse backgrounds to create positive change.
Some examples of grassroots change: Carrboro High School students, Grant Braam and Khalid Williams founded the Farmer Foodshare club at their school. The club raises student awareness around hunger and farm sustainability, while increasing student involvement in the community. Club members also raise hundreds of pounds of fresh food and contribute in meaningful ways to community food work!
We are also excited about the work of our partner and POP Market customer, Student U, in Durham. The mission of Student U is to empower students in the Durham Public Schools to own their education by developing the academic skills and personal well-being necessary to succeed in college and beyond. Student U understands that health and education are inextricably linked. Scholars are encouraged to respect themselves, which means eating well and treating themselves with love and kindness. Scholars asked for healthy fresh food for their summer camp snacks. POP Market and several local farms helped make it happen in 2012 and we plan to do it again in 2013!
Sound fun? Do you love good food and sharing it with your neighbors? Then join in! Farmer Foodshare is just a group of regular people (farmers, community members, and kids) who want to create a world where everyone eats—enough and well—and family farmers are able to make a living wage for growing healthy food in healthy ways. We counted recently and well over 400 people in 2012 have volunteered their time, expertise and support to provide food, funds and friendship through Farmer Foodshare to their communities.
Become a Farmer Foodsharer. Donate or volunteer at programs around the Triangle, in Charlotte, Shelby or Boiling Springs.
Donations in December will be doubled through a matching grant challenge from the Norman and Bettina Roberts Family Foundation! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’re also recruiting for a part-time business manager so spread the word. The job will be posted this week to our website.
- Over 123,000 pounds (61.5 tons or 17,000 servings) of best quality food donated from farmers and farmers market shoppers to agencies that serve the hungry.
- $75,000 in farm fresh food purchases for NC family farms.
- 200 family farms from 14 farmers markets participating.
- 400 volunteers.
- 3400 healthy fresh after school snacks served by our partners, using local fresh food.
- 30 social service agencies from six counties receiving food (feeding thousands of adults and children fresh, healthy NC-grown food)
- 1 new food enterprise business launched.
- Foundations, policy organizations and community development efforts starting to recognize the link between food access, sustainable farming and community economic development.
It’s fun. It’s healthy. And everybody wins. Thank you.
Samantha says, “Eat the rainbow!”