So many things happened last year – with food councils hosting dozens of events in their communities across the state, collaborating with partners on research, trainings, and policy proposals, and building their own capacity by formalizing structures and filling leadership positions.
The above 2017 NC Food Councils Accomplishments honeycomb highlights just some of the many achievements of food councils across North Carolina. We’ve also listed them below for an easier read. We hope that you, like us, are inspired by the breadth of community work occurring across the state. Each food council in North Carolina is a part of a growing network of more than 30 food councils across the state and more than 300 across the United States.
The Community Food Strategies team worked hard this year to continue connecting councils to each other, developing and sharing resources, and reflecting stories of individual councils to inspire others. We took time as a team to refine our own mission, vision, and values, as well as some of toolkits and resources. We gave nearly 20 team presentations across the state and the southeastern U.S., released three short videos of food council work, and continued to host quarterly regional calls for food councils across the state. The two most exciting focuses of this year were hosting the Statewide Food Council Gathering and announcing our first round of micro-grants to food councils.
We captured all of this and more in our 2017 Annual Report. Take a look! We’ll be sending each food council and our organizational partners a copy of our Annual Report and the updated NC Food Council Overview and abbreviated NC Food Council Accomplishments. We’ve found this document to be a useful tool in talking with elected officials and other potential partners to share that your food council is connected to a larger network, all working towards building a more equitable food system.
2017 NC Food Council Accomplishments
Promoting Farmers & Economic Development
- Capital Area Food Network developed a strategic plan for their Farm Advocacy Circle.
- Davidson County Local Food Network funded a farmers market awareness campaign, including billboards, stickers, and farm-to-plate dinner marketing.
- McDowell Local Food Advisory Council received grant funding to create a feasibility study and project development for a Community Food and Health Hub.
- Warren County Local Foods Promotion Council completed a farmer survey and online map to create a Local Food Guide.
- Caswell County Local Foods Council coordinated farmers market program to encourage children and adults to try seasonal produce in exchange for vouchers.
- Gaston Co. Food Policy Council hosted National Farmers Market Week events at all three county farmers markets, and hosted four community education events.
- Greater High Point Food Alliance hosted a Food Security Summit and a Youth Food Summit.
- Forsyth Community Food Consortium hosted monthly Local Food Meet-ups to increase awareness of local food initiatives and encourage collaboration.
- Toe River Food Security Network hosted listening sessions with pre-school teachers about gardens, and with faith-based food pantry staff and county government.
Advocating Policy & Program Change
- Asheville-Buncombe FPC hosted a 2017 Candidates Forum, highlighting the Food Policy Action Plan they developed, which was passed by the City of Asheville.
- Charlotte-Mecklenberg Food Policy Council hosted a food advocacy training for 50+ community members and leaders.
- Durham Farm & Food Network hosted a public engagement event to announce their newly created 4-part Policy Platform and encourage new participation.
- Greater High Point Food Alliance worked with High Point City Council to fund a Community Garden Coordinator through the Guilford Co. Extension Office.
- Durham Farm & Food Network received funding for facilitation to support the development of a sugary beverage advocacy campaign rooted in racial equity.
- North Carolina Local Food Council expanded their membership with a goal of more diverse voices representative of their work.
- Orange Council Food Council funded several members to attend racial equity trainings.
Expanding the Network
- Alamance Food Collaborative partnered with Elon University classes on student projects that propelled their council’s top priorities.
- Cape Fear Food Council formalized their council structure and committees, which are meeting monthly, and filled all council and four committee chair positions.
- Caswell Local Foods Council hosted a free soup lunch every 2nd Wednesday of the month in 2017, attracting 50-100 attendees each month.
- Just Foods Collaborative recruited an Advisory Board, formalized its structure, and drafted a plan of work.
- Orange County Food Council hosted two forums, welcomed four new council members, and started Food Access & Local Food Economy work groups.
- Pitt County Farm and Food Council became a county sanctioned council, held three community forums, and started work with three action circles.
Increasing Food Access
- Asheville-Buncombe Food Policy Council launched a Double Up Food Bucks project for greater access to healthy foods.
- With multiple community partners to support coordination, Bread Riot provided free local produce to low-income families in winter food boxes.
- Cabarrus County Farm & Food Council engaged in a food access study with UNC-Charlotte partners.
- Capital Area Food Network assisted with the completion of the Wake County Comprehensive Food Security Plan, and held multiple community forums for input.
- Durham Farm and Food Network provided mini-grants to food pantries to improve services offered to clients.
- Multiple councils began work together to educate and advocate for maintaining SNAP funding and program structure in the 2018 farm bill.