COMMUNITY FOOD STRATEGIES
2020 ANNUAL REPORT
INSPIRING CONNECTIONS. AMPLIFYING COLLECTIVE ACTION.
- Hosted winter team retreat
- Released Connecting Food & Community video
- Started six-part Facilitating for More Voices virtual workshop series
- Started bi-weekly Food Council Connection calls (16)
- Revamping Food Council Development Toolkit
- Continued quarterly Food Waste & Recovery calls
- Convening Triangle Regional Collaborative of food councils
- Awarded 21 Emergency Block Grants totaling $24,500
- NC Rural Center team member transition
- Racial Equity coaching begins
- Completed Food Council check-ins
- Co-leadership in the Triad region
- Latin/Hispanic and Farmworker Support Convenings
- Facebook Live Legislative Updates
- Hosted mid-year team retreat
- Started Youth Food Council Network calls
- Supported UNC School of Government talks
- Six Shared Gifting Circles with 26 councils distributed $101,300
- NC Food Action Plan starts Identity Conversations
- Co-hosted a virtual Candidate Forum Webinar
- White team caucus begins meeting
- Created and hired 1st Youth Food Council Catalyst position
- Shifted every other Logistics Call to Equity In-between
- Convening Regional Food Assessment Learning calls
- Hired a new Program Assistant with NCLFC
- Virtual Food Council Gathering Celebration & video
- Presented at national Building Food Council Networks webinar
- Created project data visualizations
letter from the project director
One of the most memorable conversations I had this year with our team was a discussion about how to hold ourselves accountable, especially around our work towards racial justice. Of course, the white lady in me was envisioning a checklist approach. The clear offering, instead, was much more useful and so simple: “It’s relational.” There is no checkbox. The work that we care about – taking care of each other through food – asks that we know each other.
Twenty-twenty was a year where knowing each other and connecting was challenging and complicated. There was the distance of COVID and the divides of racial uprisings and political sides. And, the ask to connect was still loud and clear. Reflecting on 2020, the ways that we moved towards that ask, are the real highlights for me.
The network co-created six beautiful Shared Gifting Circles. The desire for Shared Gifting was always as much about the opportunity to create connections as it was about funding. Despite the virtual reality, folks left each of those circles with gratitude for experiencing true connection during social isolation. Existing relationships were instrumental during this time of crisis, and the innovation required during this time resulted in many new connections. And you’ll see in the report just how much more folks across the network connected with each other, creating opportunities for relationships in policy, COVID response, and regional collaborations.
Many of our team’s asks for connection this year came out of a needful response to the losses and weight of COVID and racial injustice. In response, we developed new practices – longer check-ins, more music and grounding, space for messiness, Tea for Three. All of these offered ways to know each other better, and none of them could be captured on a checklist. I am feeling like that is a great sign. I see a commitment across this work to continue to show up and build trust, and to be accountable to each other.
THANK YOU FROM OUR TEAM
LINDSEY CARVER, Food Bank of Central & Eastern NC
GINI KNIGHT, Center for Environmental Farming Systems
AMY MARION, Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project
LASHAUNA AUSTRIA, Kindred Seedlings
JARED CATES, Carolina Farm Stewardship Association
ABBEY PINER, Center for Environmental Farming Systems
BRANDY BYNUM-DAWSON, NC Rural Center
MEGAN BOLEJACK, Care Share Health Alliance
SHORLETTE AMMONS, Committee on Racial Equity at CEFS
DALLAS GOODNIGHT & JOYCE YAO, CEFS (not pictured)
Our ten team members’ time on this project equals five full-time staff.
Providing support and sharing resources – knowledge, time, or finances – has been a continuous request and gift throughout this astounding year. Our team evaluated the circumstances and shifted our resources and techniques, while staying true to our values and priorities of centering community and those on the margins.
ON THE GROUND
With immediate hunger relief and organizing on the ground to support mutual aid efforts, many food councils were at the center of information dissemination, strategy coordination, and food distribution. By April, $24,000 in emergency response block grants was distributed to food councils engaged in COVID-19 relief efforts.
The EMERGENCY RESPONSE GRANTS resulted in councils receiving over $24k for projects to:
EQUITY IN ACTION
Focused facilitation and trust in the process contributed to an impactful participatory grant program. Our team and eight Shared Gifting Advisors diligently planned six regional Shared Gifting Circles that increased knowledge on issues, strengthened network capacity, and distributed funds through a democratic process.
The SHARED GIFTING process resulted in councils receiving over $100k for projects to:
”I’m blown away. This part of the process (re-gifting) is a whole other layer of expressing gratitude to each other and demonstrating cooperative sharing.”
– Sarah Daniels, Cape Fear Food Council
ABC2’s Community Feeding Program
Photo: Youth Ambassadors, Men & Women United for Youth & Families
What are we looking forward to?
This year we hope to be about showing up & slowing down.
We’re working on slowing down this year, in service to making space for the creativity necessary to notice, honor, and create models of food justice that create new ways of being in solidarity and moving towards food justice.
And our main goal continues to be to show up. Specifically, we want to show up to support in the places where BIPOC, rural, and youth leaders of this network see the resources of this team as additive.
Where will that be in the coming year? We’re planning to show up to continue the values-based resource sharing that Shared Gifting offers. We’re showing up with a new way to build community towards (policy) action with a cohort of learners working together throughout the year. And we will keep showing up to the needful and necessary work of creating practices internally and beyond for shifting and sharing power in service to justice and healing in food and farming.
- Prioritize relationship building with and across food councils
- Integrate anti-racist practice and culture
- Deepen relational accountability practices
- Build network leadership through youth voices and participatory grantmaking
- Increase food policy advocacy & organizing skills
- Encourage systems change and values-based approaches
Budget Note: Our budget was reduced by 38% from 2019 to 2020 due to the elimination of travel and in-person gatherings due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
BCBSFNC & W.K. Kellogg
26% Community Support
8% Food Action Plan
5% External Evaluation
active food councils in North Carolina
was distributed to food councils through microgrants
people participated in peer-to-peer engagements
of food councils engaged in peer-to-peer learning
new groups exploring food councils
Youth Food Council Catalyst hired
councils participated in Racial Equity trainings
of food councils worked together on policy engagement
NORTH CAROLINA FOOD COUNCIL NETWORK
CHARLOTTE REGION – 4
Cabarrus County Farm & Food Council
Char-Meck Food Policy Council
Rowan Food & Farm Network
Union County Food Council
NORTHEAST REGION – 6
Beaufort HEAL Collaborative
GrowK Youth Food Council, ABC2
Just Foods Collaborative
Pitt County Farm & Food Council
Warren Co Local Foods Promotion Council
Wilson Food Council
SOUTHEAST REGION – 5
Cape Fear Food Council
Carteret Food & Health Council
Cumberland County Food Council
Youth Ambassadors, MWUYF
TRIAD REGION – 9
Alamance Food Collaborative
Caswell County Local Foods Council
Davidson County Local Food Network
Greater High Point Food Alliance
Guilford Food Council
Piedmont Triad Regional Food Council
Winston-Salem Urban Food Policy Council
TRIANGLE REGION – 4
Capital Area Food Network
Chatham Community Food Council
Orange County Food Council
SEEDS Youth Food Council
Youth Food Council Catalyst hired
WESTERN REGION – 7
Asheville Buncombe Food Policy Council
Catawba County Food Council
McDowell Local Foods Advisory Council
Rutherford Food Network
Toe River Food Network
Watauga Food Council