2017 Accomplishments. Food Council Highlights. Equitable Food Systems. New Resources.
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Cultivating community. Creating equitable food policy.

Building momentum and connections

The network has been busy this first quarter. It feels like the momentum of our Statewide Gathering in early December has stayed with us - keeping us busy in our communities and busy connecting with one another.  

As you’ll see highlighted below, councils are connecting with one another around Farm Bill issues and learning new ways of communicating across the network; attendance and energy have been high on our regional network calls this quarter; thirteen councils have been awarded micro-grants and are already busy planning implementing projects from first-ever farm tours to new websites to hosting community trainings. There are nine communities that have reached out to us with interest in considering developing councils or joining the existing network. And our team has been working closely with the Committee on Racial Equity (CORE) team at the Center for Environmental Farming Systems to continue the work of building a shared language around racial equity in the food system with our network.

We’re grateful to have expanded the team with a new full time team member, a new advisor, and an intern. It’s an exciting time. See details below!

What did North Carolina food councils and the Community Food Strategies team accomplish in 2017?

So many things. Food councils hosted dozens of events across the state, collaborating with partners on research, trainings, and policy proposals, and building their own capacity by formalizing structures and filling leadership positions.  

The 2017 NC Food Councils Accomplishments honeycomb highlights many achievements of food councils across North Carolina.  We hope that you, like us, are inspired by the breadth of community work occurring across the state.  Each food council in North Carolina is a part of a growing network of more than 30 food councils across the state and more than 300 across the United States.


Local Food Councils Tackle Hunger and Food Access Issues in North Carolina

Last winter and spring, 11 local food councils collaborated to educate and advocate for maintaining funding and program structure for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in the 2018 farm bill.  They drafted a letter expressing this concern, gathered more than 120 signatures from organizations across the state, and delivered the letters to U.S. Senators and Congressmen and women.

“As the 2018 Farm Bill process unfolds, it is exciting to know that communities across North Carolina are energized to speak to their policy makers about what makes sense in their communities.  It is inspiring to see these groups acting together to engage and educate lawmakers on what North Carolinians need for increased food security,” says Abbey Piner, Community Food Strategies Project Director.

What would an equitable food system look like in your community?

If you missed it before, check out this video compiling food council and community member responses to this above question from attendees at the Statewide Food Council Gathering in North Carolina in December of 2017.

Food council and community members from the Statewide Food Council Gathering sharing what an equitable food system would look like in their community. 


2018 Micro-grant Awardees

We awarded 13 local food councils in North Carolina micro-grants ranging from $500 – $4000 and totaling $35,000 to support projects, programming and capacity building for these community groups.  Thanks to the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, Community Food Strategies will be offering micro-grants again at the end of 2018 for 2019 awards.

The Power of a Conversation

“Today, we are witnessing the transformation of a community with regards to food access, neighbors working together, food education, and partners working together who did not know each other three years ago. And it all started with a conversation,” shared Carl Vierling, Executive Director of the Greater High Point Food Alliance (GHPFA). Read more to learn how GHPFA relies on community input to shape their decision making and goals and about the Neighborhood Index which is assessing food insecurity. 

2017 Annual Report

In this report, you'll see our work to connect councils, develop and share resources, and reflect stories.  Last year, we refined our own mission, vision, and values, gave nearly 20 team presentations, hosted the Statewide Food Council Gathering, provided technical assistance, announced the micro-grants program, and much more. 

Free Racial Equity Workshop

On Friday, May 11, join us for the third of three free, one-day workshops.  This workshop offers a shared language, a shared framework, and a shared history for understanding structural racism and how barriers inhibit equity in the food system. This workshop is in Rutherfordton, NC. Due to limited capacity, RSVP here

New Advocacy Resources

Thanks to a partnership with students in the UNC-Chapel Hill Public Policy program, our updated Strategic Advocacy Toolkit includes new policy briefs, memos, and advocacy tools. The memos summarize the regulations and policies for canned goods donations, backyard chickens within city limits, community gardens on public land, and agriculture development trust funds. They also give pointers on how to advocate for or implement those policies in your community. 

New Team Additions!

We’re grateful to have expanded the team with a new full time team member - Llogan Walters, a new advisor - Jamilla Hawkins with NC Rural Center, and an intern - Dr. Monique Bethell that are helping us to keep pace and to deepen our connections and contributions to the work councils are moving in their communities across the state.


Resources for 2018 Farm Bill - The drafting of the 2018 Farm Bill, a massive piece of legislation governing federal food and farm programs, is currently underway. See updates on current progress at these organizations and the Congressional Agriculture Committees websites: NC Rural Center's Rural Day -  Save the dates, May 29 and 30th to learn more about issues facing our rural communities, engage with leaders about solutions to help us all flourish, and celebrate all that makes rural North Carolina strong.  May 29th will be a day for learning and networking. On May 30th, join other rural advocates in calling or meeting with your state officials to advocate for rural issues. 

Email Jared Cates at if you would like a free consultation call to prepare for an in-person meeting or a phone call with your legislators.

Community Food Strategies is offering travel reimbursement for one car per food council if traveling over 35 miles to support food councils in attending Rural Day. Please email Jared directly if your food council is interested in participating.

Delivering Community Benefit: Healthy Food Playbook - Health Care Without Harm recently completed this playbook of resources that focuses on win-win-win strategies that improve access to healthy foods, support economic and workforce development in disadvantaged communities, and strengthen local food systems.  The resources include case studies and research to inspire and support hospitals and community partners in developing initiatives to promote healthy food access and healthy, local and sustainable food systems.

North Carolina Social Determinants of Health by Regions -  The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services’ State Center for Health Statistics has created an interactive map with a series of overlays showing social determinants of health indicators in North Carolina, including the economic, social and neighborhood, and housing and transportation status of residents across the state. 

Community Food Strategies works to empower local food councils and networks to create community-led collaboration and equitable policy change at the local, state and national level. This multi-organizational initiative focuses on building alliances and providing tools, trainings, and statewide structure to a growing network of local food councils across North Carolina.

Copyright © 2017, Community Food Strategies. All rights reserved.

Campus Box 7609, NC State University, Raleigh, NC 27695

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Community Food Strategies · Campus Box 7609, NC State University · Raleigh, NORTH CAROLINA 27695 · USA

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