Food Councils fund each other in 2022
In 2022, we celebrated our first time facilitating Shared Gifting Circles in person. Eleven food councils came together in two separate events to learn about, give feedback on, and ultimately provide funding to each others’ work and proposals.
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.
We were thrilled to host these discussions in person to enhance the relational and leadership-building benefits of this process. We also hosted these events at historically significant locations that provided safe, beautiful spaces for rest, celebration, and organizing to Black communities for generations. The directors and owners of these facilities shared their history which set a powerful tone and underscored our intention in creating more relational and more equitable grantmaking opportunities.
In 2022, the microgrants ranged from $3,211 – $11,044, averaging $7,600 per food council.
We are grateful for the support of RSF Social Finance, the University of Minnesota Cooperative Extension, and the Maine Network of Food Councils for teaching us about their own Participatory Grantmaking programs and helping us shape our process in 2019.
What will your carry forward from today?
“The power of patience & forbearance, seeing our vision through until we meet affiliates of the same mindset.”
– 2022 Shared Gifting participant
2022 Shared Gifting Participants & Projects
The following themes and brief descriptions highlight the focus and work of the network, and fall short of providing the depth and breadth of these thoughtful proposals.
We were quite pleased to see how many councils are thinking about how to compensate community members and staff for their time and expertise to sustain the energy and involvement of community work.
- Sustain Food Council Development, $26,956, 32%
- Build Educational Resources, $22,010, 26%
- Improve Food Security Solutions, $18,784, 22%
- Support Local Farmers, $15,850, 19%
Sustain Food Council Development
$26,956, 32% of total funding
These councils are dedicating a majority of their funds to sustainable growth and development practices. For many councils, this involves financially compensating council members for their contributions in order to increase engagement and representation within the council and ensure equitable, sustainable operations.
Asheville Buncombe Food Policy Council (ABFPC) ($6,333) will compensate current council members and staff, providing stipends for low-income and BIPOC community members to participate on the council. This grant will also help fund the production of a video focused on educating viewers on the impacts of food policy work. The video will highlight ABFPC’s collaboration with a public housing community to install outdoor food pantries in historically-Black neighborhoods, which was funded in part by last year’s shared gifting session.
Island CultureZ ($11,000) will incentivize council participation with monthly stipend for key community members engaged in a pilot study of this strategy. Involving such individuals in the council will facilitate food systems and policy conversations and promote solutions to disparities within the community. Additionally, the council will continue their policy work, starting with the establishment of an agrarian trust to support land access for local farmers.
Watauga Food Council ($6,412) aims to revitalize and diversify council membership to increase engagement and better represent community voices through intimate community listening sessions and shared meals. They will also offer paid stipends to community members, particularly BIPOC individuals who are limited by financial and time constraints. A portion of the funds will compensate co-coordinators for organizing and executing council events.
Western NC Food Justice Planning Initiative’s (WNC FJPI) ($3,211) share of funding will support the organization’s transition from a collaborative initiative of individuals to a regional food council with the aid of outside facilitators and consultants. WNC FJPI will also seek community input in these decisions through sub-committees and working groups. In line with the council’s Equity Guidelines, participants will receive a $25/hr stipend for their contributions.
Build Educational Resources
$22,010, 26% of total
These councils are funding projects that emphasize community outreach and education, particularly in regard to food security, food policy work, community gardens, and public health.
Cape Fear Food Council ($5050) will fund work on their Urban Learning Farm project in collaboration with New Hanover County Cooperative Extension, the Food Bank of Central & Eastern NC, and local faith communities. The Urban Learning Farm will act as an educational resource for community gardens, in addition to combating food insecurity in low-resource neighborhoods. The remaining funds will pay a project manager and continue a Community Conversations outreach series to continue relationship-building, meal distribution, and food education.
Goldsboro Gardening Group ($7,900) will fund the creation and distribution of educational gardening start-up kits for community members with limited access to horticultural resources. The Goldsboro Gardening Group will collaborate with local farmers, health professionals, and nonprofit organizations to distribute these kits and other free educational resources at community events promoting health and horticulture.
Men and Women United for Youth & Families (MWUYF) ($9,060) will expand and maintain their Community Demonstration & Learning Garden Project, erecting raised beds at the current site and a new location, where MWUYF also operates a pop-up market. The remaining funds will support the purchase of a commercial food trailer for transporting produce for educational demonstrations at local farmers’ markets in New Hanover, Columbus, and Bladen counties.
What will your carry forward from today?
“Leaning into generosity & abundance even when it feels scary and uncomfortable.”
– 2022 Shared Gifting participant
Improve Food Security Solutions
$18,784, 22% of total
These councils will use their funds to increase capacity for food security programs that connect food-insecure community members with local sources of healthy, affordable produce.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Food Policy Council ($11,044) will assess the local impact of the SNAP Double Bucks program by establishing an advisory committee of food council members, farmers market managers, local BIPOC farmers, SNAP Double Bucks users, and community leaders. Participants will be financially compensated for their time as they evaluate the success of the program and its outcomes for users. The resulting data will inform what improvements can be made to the program to better support food security in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area.
Pitt County Farm & Food Council ($7,740) will coordinate a Produce Rx program that will partner with a local healthcare establishment to distribute farmers’ market vouchers to food-insecure community members. Home delivery will be available for participants with limited transportation through collaboration with the Food Bank of Central & Eastern NC and DoorDash. A portion of the funds will also support BIPOC farmers at the Leroy James Farmers Market.
Support Local Farmers
$15,850, 19% of total
These councils will financially support local farmers and collaborate with growers to improve infrastructure, market access, and education for small and mid-scale producers.
Just Foods Collaborative ($8,250) will increase its capacity to assist and expand infrastructure for local BIPOC farmers and gardeners, particularly operations with a focus on education and high-productivity agricultural practices. Much of this work will be carried out by a new food coordinator, a position whose administrative costs will also be covered by this grant.
McDowell Local Foods Advisory Council ($7,600) will help improve market access and capacity for local farmers by providing ‘Farmer Resource Kits’ to interested producers. These kits will contain business and financial management supplies to support farmers in selling bulk quantities to purchasers, a new and often unfamiliar process for many farmers they work with.