2021 Shared Gifting Awards
Once again, we have completed another round of multiple Shared Gifting Circles with food councils across the state!
Shared Gifting is a participatory grantmaking process that is a democratic, collaborative exchange of funds that allows the grantee participants to also be the grantors. This process builds on our values of centering equity, prioritizing relationships, amplifying community leadership, and encouraging collaboration.
In 2021, seventeen food councils participated in four Shared Gifting Circles, with microgrants ranging from $2000 – $6000, averaging nearly $4000 per food council. In the evaluation, 84% of participants said that they would participate again for the same amount or even a lesser amount of funds.
The Circles were mostly organized by proposal topic area, allowing deeper reflection, questions, and specific resource sharing. The participants increased their knowledge of the issues and of each other’s work. They invested in each other, and in the end were incredibly grateful. We are incredibly grateful for their participation, as well as for our advisors, mentors, and funders. We had eight food council members as advisors for this process this year.
To learn more about Shared Gifting, watch RSF Social Finance’s 4-minute Gifting Power video here or see the video of Shared Gifting participant feedback in 2020.
2021 MICROGRANT THEMES
The following themes and brief descriptions cannot share the depth and breadth of these thoughtful proposals, and yet they highlight the collective work of the network as a whole.
Support Farmers & Infrastructure
$16,600, 26% of total funding
Island CultureZ ($3800) will use the funds to support their urban farming cooperative through creating a market space for the vendors and facilitating mutual exchange and resource sharing. They are building relationships among urban farmers in the area and supporting cooperative purchases for shared tools, equipment, chicken raising permits, and other urban farm projects. They are also building a pergola and a pack and wash station at their market space.
Just Foods Collaborative ($6,000) will increase the capacity of their Black farmers collaborative by funding the installation of a high tunnel and the purchase of a mobile refrigerator. The high tunnel will increase their capacity to grow year-round and provide plant starts for the collaborative. The mobile refrigerator will help with transporting fresh produce.
Pitt County Farm and Food Council ($2,700) will support a local farmer in purchasing a high tunnel to produce organic vegetables year round, to donate surplus produce to local pantries that serve predominantly Latinx communities, and to provide educational opportunities and demonstrations to other area farmers.
Robeson County Food Council ($4,100) will offer Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certification workshops to increase farmer certifications in the region. This will support Native American farmers and help increase the local food supply in their community.
Center BIPOC Voices
$16,300, 25% of total funding
Asheville Buncombe Food Policy Council (ABFPC) ($5000) will use this grant to expand the work of their mutual aid outdoor pantry project and to pay staff for their work on the food council’s Food Security Reparations project. They are facilitating focus groups and Story Circles in phase 2 of their Reparations project with the City of Asheville. With paid participation input from their community, they will develop a set of reparations recommendations related to harms to food security caused by Urban Renewal policies.The outdoor pantry building project partners with historically-Black neighborhoods to build small covered structures in neighborhoods to store food and other resources.The funds will pay a Black-owned company for construction support, pay residents for their work on the project, and purchase building materials.
Capital Area Food Network (CAFN) ($3800) will create a video series featuring the stories of local Black Farmers and their resiliency in the face of systemic racism in agriculture. CAFN will also provide an advocacy and discussion guide to accompany the video series to support policy engagement specifically with the upcoming Farm Bill, land and asset protection, and local food system collaboration.
McDowell Local Food Advisory Council (LFAC) ($3800) will kickstart a community-based participatory research initiative to map out the McDowell food system with an equity-based lens. This involves locating BIPOC farmers and food initiatives to understand the opportunities they have in accessing markets and becoming profitable. The McDowell LFAC will hire BIPOC youth as paid interns to build organizing, research, and outreach skills and to help organize a farm-to-table dinner. They will partner with other local entities to purchase tents for those experiencing homelesness due to COVID.
Orange County Food Council/Capital Area Food Network ($3,700) will facilitate and compensate an advisory board of people most impacted in the food system. The advisory board will inform the curriculum of the Triangle Regional Food Council Collaborative’s food systems training program for local and regional policy makers. This models an equity approach to centering community voices most impacted by inequities and compensating them for their expertise and time. This advisory board represents an intention to build bridges between grassroots efforts and local government.
Strengthen Council Capacity
$14,025, 22% of total funding
Alamance Food Collaborative ($3,700) will engage their existing and new food council members in their work by providing honorariums for their participation in key initiatives and collaborations. They hope to specifically bring in more participants who are in the restaurant industry. This compensation model is inspired by other equity models that value people for their time and experience that they share.
Cape Fear Food Council (CFFC) ($3,700) will hire a part-time food council staff member to facilitate connections with policy makers, programs, and practices to implement a survey to identify investment and resource opportunities. The results from the survey, a tool from the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association and Community Food Strategies, will help focus and guide the priorities of CFFC. The results will also help communicate the vision and role of the council with funders.
Kerr-Tar Regional Council of Governments ($3800) is creating a regional food council, prioritizing resources to recruit council members from different racial, geographic, and food system backgrounds that reflect the communities they aim to serve. The regional council comes from a locally named need for regional collaboration. The funding will be used for research and start-up costs to bring council members together by the end of the year to identify their goals and mission.
Watauga Food Council ($2,825) will fund two co-coordinators, who are active food system participants and Watauga locals. The coordinators will work on local food promotion and food security, in part by facilitating a feasibility study of a shared kitchen. Producers voiced this need of a commercial kitchen to support starting and expanding their value-added businesses.
Paying Farmers to Feed Communities
$11,083, 17% of total funding
Beaufort HEAL Collaborative ($3,950) will continue to coordinate a meaningful food box program with recipes primarily to seniors, and also other families and children. The produce will be sourced from a Black farmer and a collaborative of other farmers.
Catawba County Food Council ($2,000) will implement a SNAP Double Up Bucks program at Hickory Farmers Market, their county’s largest farmers market. This farmers market features eight vendors from historically marginalized communities, is downtown and accessible via bus route, and has the potential to better serve its neighboring lower-resource neighborhoods with this grant.
Rowan Food and Farm Network ($5,133) will partner with a senior home to offer vouchers for seniors and senior WIC recipients, to purchase Spring vegetables at the local farmers market. These vouchers will be distributed in April before other annual voucher programs begin.
Create Educational Programming
$6,558, 10% of total funding
Carteret Food and Health Council ($3,033) will spread their funds across their different initiatives, primarily their Food Waste & Recovery group and their Sweet Potato Day Celebration. The Food Waste & Recovery group will print materials to raise awareness about this topic, print English and Spanish flyers of emergency feeding locations, and buy reusable bags for food donations. The funds will support the purchase of locally grown sweet potatoes from the largest minority owned farm in Carteret.
Men and Women United for Youth & Families ($3,525) will build upon their community demonstration garden, which engages youth in an opportunity to be active and social in nature. The funds will go toward raised beds and in-ground beds, as well as a high tunnel. This demonstration garden will allow them to better engage the community in educational activities and grow produce year-round to feed families in their community.