Local Food Systems

Farmer Food Share

Aiming to nurture a healthier world in which all people can access nutritious food, Farmer Food Share works to remove barriers to growing and accessing local, healthy food across North Carolina.  To do so, the Durham-based nonprofit’s core programs include:  1) Donation Stations located at roughly 40 farmer’s markets across the state at which shoppers can donate food and money; 2) a Whole Market, which buys fresh produce from farms and sells it to nonprofits serving low-wealth communities, schools, groceries, and other institutions; and 3) Food Ambassadors who provide nutrition and related education to agencies and individuals.  In 2017, the nonprofit’s work was credited with supporting over 600 local farmers and providing fresh food to 92,770 people.

Durham Farmers’ Market

Operating since 1999, the Durham Farmers’ Market sells fresh produce, artisanal foods, and handcrafted wares from more than 65 vendors who live no more than 70 miles from the market.  To help ensure all area residents can access healthy, fresh food, the market accepts SNAP/EBT benefits and has a Double Bucks Program that matches SNAP transactions up to $10 (thus, SNAP recipients spending $10 can buy $20 of food).  The market also participates in the Farmer Foodshare's Donation Station Program, an effort that collects fresh food and cash (used to buy additional fresh food) from market customers and donates the food to those in need.

Bull City Cool

Opened in 2015, Bull City Cool is a shared dry storage warehouse where local farmers’ fresh food is aggregated and then distributed to those in need.  The project was catalyzed by Reinvestment Partners, a Durham-based community development corporation, to facilitate access to healthy, fresh food for hunger relief nonprofits.  To support area farmers, the Hub also conducts educational workshops.

Webinar: Food Hubs, Trends & Resources (2018)

Edward A. Ragland, Jr. , Americo Vega-Labiosa, Jim Barham and Jeff Farbman

Ithaca Youth Farm Project

Established in 2009 to create opportunities for youth to learn leadership, collaboration, and communication skills, The Youth Farm Project now grows 3-4 acres of crops on a yearly basis.  The food is sold at low-cost to community members and used to provide free, fresh snacks to 1,600 Ithaca Elementary School students.  In addition to creating about 25 jobs for area youth, the Project also engages youth through cooking classes, school field trips to the farm, and other educational opportunities.

The Youth Farm Project

Established in 2009 to create opportunities for youth to learn leadership, collaboration, and communication skills, The Youth Farm Project now grows 3-4 acres of crops on a yearly basis.  The food is sold at low-cost to community members and used to provide free, fresh snacks to 1,600 Ithaca Elementary School students.  In addition to creating about 25 jobs for area youth, the Project also engages youth through cooking classes, school field trips to the farm, and other educational opportunities.

Healthy Food for All

Founded in 2006, Healthy Food for All helps food-insecure families access affordable, healthy organic produce by subsidizing CSA shares.  To encourage and facilitate interest in a variety of fresh produce, the nonprofit also offers its CSA participants weekly free cooking classes and workshops, and hosts events through which members can meet participating farmers.  Healthy Food for All supports about 200 families each year.

Groundswell Center for Local Food and Farming

Groundswell Center for Local Food and Farming aims to foster a more sustainable, just food system by supporting new farmers, ensuring affordable access to land, and providing hands-on education in farming, sustainable land-use practices, and food justice.  To ensure all community members can participate in its educational programming, Groundswell Center relies on a sliding scale fee structure and offers participants language interpretation and transportation services when needed.  As start-up costs often pose a significant obstacle to new farmers, in 2012 the nonprofit launched an Incubator Farm program that provides new growers with affordable land, resources, one-on-one guidance, and training to develop production techniques and business skills for up to four years.

Crooked Carrot Farm

Launched in 2011 with a goal of nurturing a more self-reliant, democratic, and community-focused food system, Crooked Carrot Farm is local food processing business that makes fresh, fermented, and shelf-stable products from fresh ingredients sourced from farms within 50 miles of Ithaca.  To support local farms, Crooked Carrot co-packs products for farmers with extra produce and offers consulting and educational services to help grow the local food movement.  Through its partnership with Youth Farm Project’s Fresh Snack Program, Crooked Carrot also works with over 20 local farms to coordinate the sourcing and preparation of two fresh produce snacks a week for over 1,200 students—an effort credited with creating a market for 3,000 pounds of new produce sales a year for local farmers.  In 2017, Crooked Carrot itself processed over 30,000 pounds of local produce.

Urbanlife Ministries Farms, Tables, and Cafe

Catalyzed by the faith-based nonprofit Urban Ministries, Urbanlife Farms provides jobs and training opportunities to area youth while producing healthy, local food and beautifying neighborhoods. The program operates two farm sites that were cultivated on previously vacant lots.  Through its Tables initiative, Urbanlife Ministries also offers paid apprenticeships designed to help youth learn skills needed for careers within the food and hospitality industry.  Part of the training is conducted at Urbanlife Café, the Ministries’ social enterprise that is located at a YMCA and serves Urbanlife Farm’s food.