COMMUNITY FOOD STRATEGIES
2021 ANNUAL REPORT
INSPIRING CONNECTIONS. AMPLIFYING COLLECTIVE ACTION.
- Gathered for winter team retreat
- Hired 1st Youth Food Council Catalyst
- Started monthly Food Council Connection Calls
- Provided ongoing Racial Equity Coaching to food councils
- Started Food Policy Advocacy & Organizing 4-Part Training Series
- Highlighted partners and food councils on Food Policy Fridays
- Awarded $15K in Rapid Response Grants to 15 councils
- Held and summarized one-on-one check-ins with NC food councils
- Convened Councils of Government staff, food assessment learnings, etc
- Welcomed new NC Rural Center Team member
- Launched Principles for Taking Action on Racial Justice for Food Councils
- Supported conference scholarships and presentation opportunities
- Facilitated four Shared Gifting Circles distributing $65K to 17 food councils
- Hosted four regional events and one statewide Network Gathering
- Celebrated Food Waste & Recovery work group’s NC budget win
- Completed NC Food Councils Engagement during Covid Report
“As a youth, I have found it integral to understand the concept of food and how people of different communities are affected by it. I am absolutely thrilled to have a role in which I can connect youth and address relevant issues ~within the food security realm.”
~ Kianna Harrison, 1st Youth Food Council Catalyst
THANK YOU FROM OUR TEAM
AMY MARION, Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project
JOYCE YAO, Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS)
GINI KNIGHT, Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS)
LINDSEY CARVER, Food Bank of Central & Eastern NC
BRANDY BYNUM-DAWSON, NC Rural Center
ABBEY PINER, Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS)
MEGAN BOLEJACK, Care Share Health Alliance
LASHAUNA AUSTRIA, Kindred Seedlings
SHORLETTE AMMONS, Committee on Racial Equity at CEFS
MILES KIRKSEY, NC Rural Center
JARED CATES, Carolina Farm Stewardship Association
MARCUS HILL, Island CultureZ
Not Pictured: KIANNA HARRISON, ABC2
active food councils in North Carolina
directly to food councils through microgrants and scholarships
food councils participated in Racial Equity coaching
of food councils engaged in peer-to-peer learning
new groups exploring food councils
of food councils received technical assistance
advocated for and appropriated in the NC state budget
food councils worked together on policy engagement
WHAT DID WE DO?
MONTHLY FOOD COUNCIL CONNECTION CALLS
- 28 food councils attended
- 197 attendees over 8 calls
- A consistent space for our team to model our work
- A place for new people and partners to land, enter, and engage
REGIONAL SHOW UP
- 4 events highlighting and energizing regional connections
- 350+ virtual attendees
- Successful collaboration with NC Local Food Council
SHARED GIFTING PARTICIPATORY GRANTS
- ~$65K distributed by 17 FCs to each other across 4 participatory grantmaking circles
- 84% of participants would do it again for even less $
- An excellent way to model equity work in action
FOOD POLICY ADVOCACY & ORGANIZING SERIES
- 23 councils and 90+ attendees attended
- 15 councils and 99 attendees joined Collaborative Policy Calls
- 12 Facebook live events featuring food policy and advocacy work
- Energy built in 4-part training series
- Nine food councils engaged with multiple sessions
- Activities included implicit bias training, book discussion groups, history of policies, history of place, coaching reparations committee
INDIVIDUAL & COUNCIL TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE
- 154 one-on-one meetings with food councils partners and leaders
- 94% of councils received consultations, up from 71% in 2020
- Provided coaching and consultation to new and existing councils
“Local food councils are doing grassroots, storytelling, important groundwork, but it’s hard for an organization to be effective at that and carry a state-level advocacy presence. You just can’t be all things to all people, so making sure everyone works together well and effectively has been key to moving this forward. ”
~ Marianne Weant, NC Alliance for Health
HOW DID WE FINANCIALLY SUPPORT FOOD COUNCILS?
We know finding consistent funding is challenge, and even small funding pools can go a long way.
Thanks to BCBS Foundation of NC, Community Food Strategies provided multiple ways to support capacity building for food councils through Rapid Response microgrants, Shared Gifting participatory microgrants, scholarships to attend conferences, and honorariums for food council members serving in advisory roles.
27 food councils received funding totaling $82,900.
SHARED GIFTING PARTICIPATORY MICROGRANTS
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 ~$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.
See the themes for the proposals to the left and 2021 Shared Gifting proposal summaries here.
“We’ve all been sharing so much with each other this whole time: knowledge, appreciation, questions, interests in each other’s projects, and that’s such a wonderful and beautiful thing…”
~ Dr. Monique Bethell, 2021 Shared Gifting Participant, Capital Area Food Network
Where are we headed?
The composition of our team went through a transition this year, with incredible team members joining and leaving. While we are saddened by the team members transitioning off the team to new opportunities, we are also feeling the opportunity and energy from the new team members. As we settle into a new dynamic, we collectively honed our project’s 2022 focus. While maintaining the spaces and places in our work that bring us life and energy (a.k.a. Life-giving forces from the Center for Appreciative Inquiry brought to us by Ms. Kim Pevia), our team aims to better align program areas, build on successive offerings, and integrate a work culture of care and balance.
This project is funded by BCBS Foundation of NC & W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
21% Community Support
9% Food Action Plan
1. Training & skill-building
Our team will offer impactful, justice-centered resources and trainings to the network of food councils focused around racial equity, systems change, policy, advocacy, and organizing, and communications strategy.
We will continue to serve as a regional and statewide network convener creating opportunities for new and deeper partner connections, collaborative strategy, knowledge exchange, and skills practice.
3. Internal Processes / Values in Practice
We will evaluate and adjust our racial equity commitments operationalizing equity in our internal team practices which will extend to external work in community.
4. Sustainable Funding
Our project aims to secure multi-year funding that will support the team’s capacity and ability to remain resourceful and relevant to the network.
NORTH CAROLINA FOOD COUNCIL NETWORK