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 policy calls
- Continued 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
- Established co-leadership in the Triad region
- Latin/Hispanic and Farmworker Support Convenings
- Hosted Facebook Live Legislative Updates
- Hosted mid-year team retreat
- Started Youth Food Council Network calls
- Supported UNC School of Government Food During Covid-19 talks
- 26 food councils distribute $101+K in Shared Gifting Circles
- 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 calls
- Convening Regional Food Assessment Learning calls
- Hired a new Program Assistant with NC Local Food Council
- 2020 Food Council Gathering & Celebrating Food Council 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 this 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, and 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.
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 position created and hired
councils participated in Racial Equity trainings
of food councils worked together on policy engagement
CONVENING THE NETWORK
Maintaining and building new connections this year may have been the most useful service we provided to food councils to stay up-to-date, learn from others, and act on opportunities.
2020 peer-to-peer engagement opportunities
Providing support and sharing resources – knowledge, time, or finances – has been a continuous request and gift throughout this astounding year.
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, $24,500 in emergency response block grants were distributed to food councils engaged in COVID-19 relief efforts.
EMERGENCY RESPONSE GRANT PROJECTS:
ACROSS FOOD COUNCILS
Focused facilitation and trust in the process contributed to an impactful participatory grant program called Shared Gifting. Our team facilitated six regional Shared Gifting Circles resulting in increased knowledge on issues, stronger network capacity, and more than $100K democratically distributed funds.
SHARED GIFTING MICROGRANTS:
Block grants supported ABC2’s Community Feeding Program.
Youth Ambassadors, Men & Women United for Youth & Families
- 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
What are we looking forward to?
In 2021, we hope to be about showing up & slowing down.
We’re working on slowing down to make space for noticing, honoring, supporting and creating models of food justice. And, as always, we aim to show up. Specifically, we want to show up 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 healing action in food and farming.
This project is funded by BCBS Foundation of NC & W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
23% Community Support
7% Food Action Plan
4% External Evaluation
Our overall expenses in 2020 were significantly lower than 2019, which is reflected in hosting no in-person gathering, and no expenses on travel for staff or community members, due to COVID-19.
NORTH CAROLINA FOOD COUNCIL NETWORK