Dear Farmer Foodshare Friend,
Last year, North Carolina’s farmers produced more than 600 million dollars’ worth of fresh fruits and vegetables according to the NCDA’s 2012 Statistics. In the same year, Feeding America reported that over a million North Carolinians could not afford to put enough nutritious food on the table to sustain a healthy diet. At the same time, almost half the fresh food produced in the United States goes to waste.
This is clearly a broken food system where too much food goes to waste while people struggle to eat and farmers struggle to make a living. But the good news is we can fix it and you can help by supporting Farmer Foodshare.
Farmer Sara Broadwell of Catbriar Farm puts it this way, “It’s hard to believe with the amount of food that we have [here in North Carolina] that there would be someone that’s hungry, but I understand that there is so we want to do whatever we can to help that”.
Farmers and volunteers created Farmer Foodshare to connect people who grow food with people and agencies that need food, in ways that are economically sustainable and socially just. Farmer Foodshare connects people to the source of their food, and connects food producers to people in need. This innovative, award-winning model also supports the livelihood of farmers, particularly limited resource farmers, to help ensure a robust, geographically and socially diverse food production base that can increase food security for all North Carolinians. But just like the NC-grown fresh fruits and vegetables we provide, Farmer Foodshare needs your support to grow.
Can you help us meet a $20,000 end of year matching challenge? Every dollar donated will be doubled up to $20,000. These much needed funds will enable Farmer Foodshare to continue to connect more farmers in local communities with people and agencies that need fresh healthy food all across North Carolina.
People often ask what does Farmer Foodshare do all day? The simple answer is “We connect food, funds and friends to solve hunger and malnutrition in North Carolina” in ways that are simple, easy to replicate and generate health and wealth for all.
Most folks know about our farmers’ market Donation Stations, but what happens when we are not at the farmers’ markets? We are connecting local food to local need through donations and sales, and providing resources to improve fresh food education. For example, we might get a call from a local camp on a tight budget wanting to source “clean” local food for the growing bodies and minds of their young campers. Brett Sheppard, our POP Market Coordinator, reaches out to local farmers to find kid-friendly food. Brett facilitates the sale, returning local dollars to local farmers and local food to local need. Or Katy Phillips, our Donation Station Coordinator receives an urgent text– a farmer in Saxapahaw wants to donate 100 dozen eggs. Katy picks up the eggs using our refrigerated van and delivers them to urgent hunger agencies who can distribute this much needed protein to health vulnerable clients. Or Gini Bell, our Operations Manager and Chief Food Ambassador creates recipes and educational materials to ensure recipients know how to use and enjoy local farm food. It’s all part of the deep collaboration that is needed to create a healthy food system where everybody wins.
This simple effort, started at the Carrboro Farmers’ Market in 2009 by farmers and volunteers, has now grown to 18 farmers markets, staffed by over 200 volunteers. These programs have moved over 200,000 pounds of food, supplemented over 800,000 meals, and provided an additional $100,000 in new revenue to local farms – adding to the health and wealth of North Carolina communities.
It’s a great start, but there’s more to be done. We need your help. One in six people continue to be hungry and farmers continue to struggle to make a living wage. NC has 100 counties, more than 200 farmers markets, and 1.8 million food insecure people.
Why can’t every farmers market have a Donation Station? Why can’t every institution and agency in the state serve its food from local farms, adding to the economic development of local communities? Why can’t every person in the food-rich state of North Carolina go to sleep at night having eaten enough nutritious and delicious food to sustain a healthy life?
Please help us meet the $20,000 matching challenge so that we can continue to coordinate and grow this work alongside farmers and community volunteers across the state. Help us provide fresh food to children who would never see a fresh carrot or green bean without their Farmer Foodshare delivery and farmers’ market visit. Join with us to inspire real, lasting and sustainable change in the way we eat, source and grow food.
Sustaining gifts help us to better plan for the income that we'll have each month, which makes us better able to connect farmers with people who need food! Won't you join our sustaining partner program? We have levels to suit all incomes, from Seed Savers at $5/month to Food Hubs at $100! We would be eternally grateful, and anyone giving $20/mo or more gets one of our fabulous, locally made organic cotton “I SHARE” t-shirts as a special thank you.
Thank you for helping create a healthy and food secure North Carolina.
Founder and Executive Director, Farmer Foodshare
 American Wasteland, Jonathan Bloom, DeCapo Liflong Books, 2011