Helping organizations connect our communities with healthy food
Thanks to generous contributions from owners and customers, four local nonprofit organizations will receive a total of $2,700 in grants from WSM’s Cooperative Community Fund in 2014. A committee of eight consumer and worker owners selected these recipients for their innovative approaches to connecting individuals and families in our community with healthy food. An underlying theme in this year’s funded projects is the desire to empower individuals of all ages to make healthy food a part of their daily lives. Two of the projects focus on growing nutritious produce in sustainable gardens, and the other two provide nutritious food to individuals with limited access to healthy food.
2014 CCF Winners:
$750 to Hillsborough’s new charter school, The Expedition School, for materials to build raised gardens and a rain barrel irrigation system for its edible schoolyard. The gardens are an integral part of the school’s studies in sustainability and the environment and of its mission of providing a healthy eating culture. The gardens will provide hands-on learning experiences in sustainable agriculture practices, including the use of organic fertilizers, soil amendments, green manure, and water conservation as well as the safe harvesting and cooking of seasonal produce.
$700 to sponsor one day’s meals served by Chapel Hill-Carrboro Meals on Wheels to 140 elderly and home-bound members of the community. The volunteer-based organization provides a daily balanced meal and human connection for home-bound individuals unable to prepare meals for themselves. The organization provided 33,800 meals in 2013, and with rapid growth in the elderly population, it expects to serve 40,000 annually by 2015.
$700 to Orange County Partnership for Young Children to fund two workshops in its leadership development series for community gardens. Community gardens provide low-resource families with young children a place where they can grow their own food. The workshops address two ongoing challenges facing the gardens: garden management and sustainability. The hands-on workshops will address these challenges by providing the skills and tools the community gardeners need to take on the role of garden manager.
$550 to TABLE for educational materials to help sustain its growing SnackChef Program. Through SnackChef, TABLE volunteers prepare healthy after-school snacks for children from low-income families. The children learn how to prepare the snacks themselves. They are then sent home with the ingredients and a recipe so that they can teach family or friends how to make the healthy snack. TABLE will use the funds to develop and print recipes for healthy snacks and for lesson plans that include interactive activities about healthy eating.
Transplanting Traditions Community Farm, a project of Orange County Partnership for Young Children, received funds to train refugee youth working on the 3-acre educational farm. The farm provides agricultural growing space for 150 refugees, who were farmers in their native Burma. At the TTC Farm, families grow native North Carolina crops plus more than 20 crops native to Burma.
PTA at Grady A. Brown Elementary School received funds to install an already-purchased greenhouse that will provide hands-on experience for students learning about sustainable farming. These future gardeners and farmers learn about North Carolina crops and growing seasons, use organic and sustainable practices for crop rotation and pest control, and celebrate with community meals made from the healthy fresh fruit and vegetables they harvested.
TABLE received funds to launch its new Garden Initiative, through which the organization will grow a portion of the vegetables needed for its Weekend Meal Backpack Program. The Garden Initiative will be a community effort, with TABLE staff and volunteers working with McDougle Elementary School teachers and students to plant and maintain the crops. TABLE intends to use the gardens to help students and parents to develop healthy eating habits while gaining hands-on experience growing local produce.
Chestnut Ridge Camp shares with the community the produce it grows on its Community Farm through low-cost garden memberships and donations to food pantries. The group received funds to implement a holistic ecological approach to pest management called “farmscaping,” which will be implemented through a community workshop.
Farmer Foodshare received funds for chalkboard easels to display information at their Donation Stations at local farmers’ markets, where the organization collects cash and food donations that they distribute to people at risk for hunger in the Triangle area. Through this program, farmers and shoppers have donated over 100,000 pounds of fresh food, and the organization has purchased more than $24,000 of food from local farmers.
Chapel Hill-Carrboro Meals on Wheels received funds for its “Meals for the Homebound” program, which provided 33,000 nutritious hot meals and home visits for the elderly and disabled in 2013. The funds were requested to help offset the staggering rise in food costs and the large increase in requests for help.
Carrboro Parks Project is a public charity organization that works with local citizens and other organizations on fundraising projects to improve Carrboro’s parks and greenways. It received grant funds to help purchase a water catchment and storage solution for the community garden at Baldwin Park.
Community Nutrition Partnership collaborates with schools, community organizations, and other non-profits to increase access to healthy, local, and organic foods among lower-income communities. It received funds to support a special pilot program—a Veggie Van that brings affordable high-quality produce to low-income families in Orange County.
Orange County Partnership for Young Children and Carrboro Community Garden Coalition received grant funds to improve the irrigation system for their Growing Healthy Kids Community Garden, where each season 30 low-resource families benefit from the fresh food they are able to grow.
Sewage Sludge Action Network received grant funds to purchase a projector for screenings of their documentary film about the health and environment risks of toxic sewage sludge as a substitute for fertilizer.
Sustainable Alamance assists ex-offenders in becoming successful members of society by providing resources and skills needed to find meaningful work in the community. Sustainable Alamance purchased equipment for their community urban farm project, through which ex-offenders learn valuable farming skills and grow produce that is made available locally.
TABLE is a hunger relief organization comprised of college students and community volunteers committed to feeding hungry children in Chapel Hill and Carrboro. TABLE used its grant toward funding its TABLE for Two Mentoring program in which local food-insecure children and college students prepare healthy snacks together from fresh in-season ingredients.
The Community Lunch provides food assistance to the unemployed, culturally marginalized, and physically and mentally disabled in Chatham County. With its grant, the organization purchased a new refrigerator for storing larger quantities of food and ultimately providing service to an increasing number of guests.
The Chapel Hill Cooperative Preschool provides a welcoming learning environment for students in Orange and Chatham counties. With its grant, the preschool developed its Healthy Children’s School Garden, which allows children to learn about sustainable agriculture and cook and share food with the greater community in need.
Sewage Sludge Action Network works to educate the public about the application of toxic sewage sludge as a substitute for fertilizer and the risks of this practice to public health and the environment. The organization used its grant to support an informational campaign that publicized its messages to farmers and the general public through a variety of publications and a direct mail campaign.
Student Action with Farmworkers seeks to bring students and farmworkers together to share resources and skills, improve conditions for farmworkers, and build diverse coalitions working for social change. SAF used its funds to support its “From the Ground Up” program, which attempts to build community and engage local supporters in fair food efforts.
Neighbor House is a collaborative effort among churches and civic groups with the goal of lessening hunger and malnutrition in Hillsborough and northern Orange County. The organization used its grant funds for its Food for All program, which provides hot, nutritious meals to anyone in need.
TABLE is a hunger relief organization comprised of college students and community volunteers committed to feeding hungry children in Chapel Hill and Carrboro. Its grant funds were used to support its Weekend Backpack Program, which provides nutritious food for elementary school children at risk for hunger on weekends when federally funded public school breakfasts and lunches are unavailable.
Toxic Free North Carolina has been fighting pesticide pollution in North Carolina for over twenty years. It used its grant funds to support two projects: Just & Sustainable Agriculture, which works to increase access to locally grown organic food, and Toxic Free Kids, which seeks to reduce or eliminate pesticide use in public schools.
Chestnut Ridge Camp
NC Rural Communities Assistance Project
Haw River Assembly
Orange Community Housing and Land Trust
Anathoth Community Garden