The Human Rights Center of Chapel Hill-Carrboro first opened in 2009 as a collaboration of Abbey Court residents, Latino day laborers, Latinas, Filipino families, African American residents, and many UNC undergraduates. The HRC operates under the goal of promoting human rights for all, and provides a wide range of services for immigrants and working poor, from after-school programs and weekly soccer games to ESL and legal advocacy. In partnership with the HRC, Farmer Foodshare works to ensure the basic human right of access to healthy, nutritious food for all people.
Each Saturday, volunteers and participants from the Human Rights Center arrive at the Carrboro Farmers' Market early to participate in the food collection at the lively market. Their presence binds the ties between the communities by encouraging conversations and companionship around food. Together, the HRC and Farmer Foodshare volunteers pack the food donations and begin putting it into vehicles. As the market ends, farmers bring over their contributions for the day, which get added to the bounty already assembled in the vehicles. Then volunteers drive it over to the OWASA parking lot where the food gets unpacked for families to "shop". There is typically a line of families when the trucks arrive, and everyone pitches in to sort and set out the food for distribution.
What happens here is more than just about hunger relief. It's about community building and empowerment. Nato Hollister from the Human Rights Center describes that "the fresh produce generously donated through Farmer Foodshare has allowed us to build a wonderful, empowered, participatory community with people facing food scarcity. It allows us to fill the resource gaps in our community, and enables relationship building and cross community interactions."
Food often brings people together; whether around a dinner table, or through the weekly food distribution in the OWASA parking lot with the Human Rights Center. Access to healthy food should not be a privilege, but a right. Together with the HRC, we work to ensure that right belongs to everyone. Our missions unite to combat issues of social inequality and bring people together. We are so proud to have this wonderful partnership with the Human Rights Center, and want to thank them for all that they do for the community!
United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization Director-General Jose Graziano da Silva is quoted as saying, “The quest for food security can be the common thread that links the different challenges we face and helps build a sustainable future.” Our mission at Farmer Foodshare goes beyond the simplicity of food distribution, and aims to work for issues of food equality and the human right to accessible nutritious food for all, while partnering with community organizations that work to tackle various social challenges. Part of this goal is wonderfully realized through our connection with the Human Rights Center of Chapel Hill and Carrboro, our nonprofit recipient from the Saturday Carrboro Farmers’ Market.