Daddy! Daddy! I've got salad!

Mention Farmer Foodshare to Kimmie Champitto, Assistant Director at Johnson Pond Learning Center in Fuquay-Varina, and she breaks into a brilliant smile.  “I was so glad that Wake County Smart Start’s Farm to Child Care connected us to Farmer Foodshare! Such good things have come from that connection!"
 
“Picture a 3-year-old running down the hall toward her Dad waving a Ziploc bag and shouting, ‘Daddy! Daddy I’ve got salad!’ That’s the difference Farmer Foodshare has made here.”
 
Along with many other responsibilities, Kimmie is charged with balancing budgets while meeting dietary requirements and still planning menus that kids will not only eat, but also enjoy. She succeeds!
Kimmie has recipes that make little boys say, “Oh, boy! Leaves!”
 
Fresh food is changing lives. One mom told Kimmie that after she let her veggie-resistant son pick out some fruit at the mini-farmer’s market after school in the lobby of Johnson Pond Learning Center, he told her about a dish they had eaten with green peppers. Eager to build on this new appetite, Mom bought two peppers and started home. The produce was in the back seat with her son. Halfway home, she glanced in the rear view mirror to see her son chomping on the pepper as if it was an apple. She called Kimmie to say, “Thank you!”
 
Another mom reported that her older child had gone to a different preschool and had grown used to “kid-friendly” foods: pizza, chicken nuggets, fish sticks, and hot dogs. Those became his comfort foods. Her children at Johnson Pond love ‘leaves’ and welcome new fresh veggies, - expecting them to be yummy.  She was also very glad that the younger children were so much less ‘picky’ than the older child had become, and were always willing to try new foods.
 
How does Kimmie make this magic? She has been an enthusiastic supporter of Farmer Foodshare’s POP Market (Pennies on the Pound). Farmer Foodshare’s supporters make it possible for Farmer Foodshare to offer Johnson Pond a wholesale market that gives small – mid-scale farmers a fair price, and still keep the markup small enough that fresh, local, healthy produce is a reasonable choice for institutions on budgets.

It's Personal

Rachel Kulberg is owner of Floppy Hat Farms, please visit her website at: http://floppyhatfarms.com/

Rachel Kulberg is owner of Floppy Hat Farms, please visit her website at: http://floppyhatfarms.com/

Rachel Kulberg was a former research scientist at home in a lab coat, at home with a microscope, when her beloved father was diagnosed with cancer. Her focus changed entirely. That fine, scientific mind turned to trying to understand how to lengthen his survival. This was personal. 

Her intense study led her to understand that there is a clear link between diet and cancer which drove her to explore how to grow nutritionally rich food. Today, Rachel is a farmer practicing both aquaponics and soil-based farming using sustainable and organic cultivating methods. She understands that healthy ecosystems eventually lead to healthy communities and healthy people.

She also understands economics. Beginning farmers don’t receive the subsidies that factory farms do. Pesticide-free food grown in good soil with clean water is expensive. That means farmers have to make hard choices. Rachel is keenly aware of the importance of local, nutrition-rich food. Rachel wants that for everyone – not just the economically advantaged. She also knows from experience that growing healthy food is expensive, and that farmers have to make a profit to be able to continue.

Enter Farmer Foodshare and our POP Market (Pennies on the Pound.) POP Market’s purpose is to help small to mid-scale farmers, beginning farmers, female farmers, and farmers of color flourish. The POP Market offers advice, connections, and a wholesale market where farmers can make a fair profit, and folks in their own area can have access to fresh, local, healthy produce – even people who might not otherwise be able to afford it.


Our donors make that possible. Our donors help cover the costs and volunteers help us keep overhead low. That is good for all of us: farmers, eaters, and the environment that supports us. Rachel Kulberg knows- It’s personal.

Farmer Foodshare is about people. People like Corly Jones.

Corly Jones is a young mother of four with a gentle nature and a caring heart. She is also the Market Manager at the Eno River Farmer’s Market and one of Farmer Foodshare’s best advocates. 

Corly says, “I got into this because I was a shopper at the Farmers Market, and one day I overheard someone from Farmer Foodshare talking to the market manager at the time about starting a Donation Station. The manager thought the idea was good, but didn’t feel there was the volunteer support to man it. The idea stayed on my mind, and soon I went back to the market and offered to be the volunteer in charge of the Donation Station.”

The Donation Station became a family affair, and as a former teacher, Corly knew the value of learning to care for others at an early age. Her children and their friends and classmates became important members of the Donation Station team.

The Eno River Farmer’s Market is also somewhat unique in that rather than selecting one agency to be the recipient of the food gathered, they worked with the public school’s social worker, who selected 10 – 12 families to benefit from the food.

“These were folks who had real need,” Corly said. “All of these families would walk to the meet up spot in which the social worker would distribute wonderful fresh produce and meat. They walked because they didn’t have transportation. Often they didn’t have shoes. But they went away with lovely fresh, local food that had come from the farmers less than an hour before. “

Corly also knew that learning how to store and prepare this fresh food was essential. So she morphed Farmer Foodshare’s Food Ambassadors into a Kids’ Cooking Club. Everyone was welcome, and mixed in the group were the children whose families were receiving the donated food. These kids learn how to prepare dishes from a real chef. They taste test the dishes, have fun, and at the end, the children most in need were quietly given the extra food and extra ingredients to take home and share with their families.

Corly is our rock, and her kind nature and caring heart ripple out into the community through the children, who are learning the power of being good neighbors.

Davon Goodwin's Story

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Davon is only 27 years old, but he has learned a lot in his life. Growing up in Pennsylvania, he was a wrestler. He learned about discipline and about competition. Then he enrolled at UNC- Pembroke. His goal – to be a research scientist. He did well in his classes and as he says, “I was a typical college kid. I had fun. I thought about myself – what I wanted to be; what I wanted to have.” Then he made a decision that would change his life forever.

He decided to take a break for college and do a tour in the army. He was young, strong, smart, and willing to risk his life for his country.  While serving in Afghanistan he did just that. Out on patrol, a bomb exploded under the armored vehicle Davon was in. His life would never be the same.

Davon says, “Everything changed that day. When I woke up in the hospital, I realized I had a second chance at life, and I had to figure out how to make my life count for something. “

Battling continuing memory issues and bouts of narcolepsy, Davon finished college and set out to find a way to give back.

It wasn’t easy, but Davon refused to give up. Then he met the Griffin family. Dr. Neil Griffin had “Fussy Gourmet”, a 500-acre farm that needed a manager. Davon Goodwin needed a chance. It was a match made in heaven.  

Today, Davon farms the 500 areas almost single-handedly. He manages a vineyard with grapes for eating, juice, and wine. He raises goats, hogs, and chickens, lots of hay, and he experiments with other crops. All the while, he thinks about the people in Hoke County where the farm is located. Davon says, “One in four kids in this county wonder where their next meal is coming from. There are backpack programs, and that helps, but what kind of food is in those backpacks. Everybody deserves to have the choice of fresh, healthy food. So I think about what I grow. I want the people in my county to be able to afford it.  “

Davon wants his neighbors to have fresh, healthy food, and you know that beginning farmers, like Davon, have to make a living. They also need someone to share advice.

Enter Farmer Foodshare.  Farmer Foodshare connects people who grow food with people who need food.  Farmer Foodshare has three main programs:

  1. Donation Stations at Farmers Markets, where farmers donate fresh food and shoppers donate cash to buy food from the farmers to be shared with neighbors in need.

  2. Food Ambassadors, who share demonstrations on easy and economical ways to store and prepare fresh produce.

  3. The POP Market (Pennies on the Pound) a wholesale market that connects small to mid-scale farmers with groups or organizations that want healthy, local food, but have limited budgets.

There wasn’t a Farmers Market near the farm, but Davon was a perfect candidate for Farmer Foodshare’s POP Market.  Through the POP Market, Farmer Foodshare shares information about average pricing, packaging, transport, and need, and then serves as the connection between farmers and groups or organizations serving people with limited access to fresh, local food. This is just the population that Davon wants to help, and using POP Market, Davon receives a fair price for his goods. That means he can support his family and continue to grow healthy food for his community. Our POP Market is one of Davon’s favorite customers. It’s another match made in heaven.

 

Hard Work Pays Off! Down 2 Earth Farms is certified ORGANIC!

What do an engineer, an International Business attorney and a GIS Specialist have in common? A love for the environment, a willingness to work hard, and wide-ranging intelligence: the perfect combination to found the organically certified Down 2 Earth Farms.

In 2011, Cecilia Redding, bought the 143 acre farm from the McKee family. “The minute I set food on the land, I knew it had to be mine. I had to work hard not to hyper ventilate.”

Cecilia is the engineer in the group. She brings 20 years experience in the food industry, working as a biological and agricultural engineer. She knew first hand that big farming practices could damage the land. She wanted a farm that fed folks wholesome food and nurtured the land for future generations. “Being organic means more than eliminating harmful chemicals” Cecilia shared.

For Cecilia’s farm manager, Matt Ball, those future generations have taken on new importance. He and his wife, Christine, are expecting a son, who will grow up on Down2Earth Farms. Sustainable just became even more important. Matt is the GIS Specialist, that and his experience in land management, conservation and habitat restoration are invaluable.

Cecilia’s brother, John Dorsey, is the International Business attorney. He says, “I wasn’t really interested in farming when this started, but I was drawn by Cecilia’s enthusiasm and drive.” Cecilia says that John has been a boon to the business – helping to negotiate the legal aspects, helping with the massive amounts of paper work, and he knows how to influence others. He has headed the marketing efforts for Down 2 Earth Farms – which include navigating the varied needs of multiple markets – like Farmer Foodshare.

Congratulations to our valued partner, Down 2 Earth Farms on earning the USDA Organic Certification!