Mobilizing & Connecting CommunitiesThe Come to the Table Conferences
The biennial Come to the Table conferences convene faith leaders, hunger relief advocates, community leaders, farmers, farm-workers and others to find mutually beneficial solutions to food insecurity and address systemic issues. Because past conference participants have consistently cited the building of new relationships and collaborations within their communities as one of the most significant benefits of our program, all of our events aim to facilitate relationship-building and promote collaboration.
The 6th convening of the Come to the Table Conference took place on March 16th, 2017 at the Durham Convention Center in Durham, NC. Nearly 500 people registered for and attended the 2017 Come to the Table Conference, collectively participating in 27 workshops, 4 community conversations over lunch, and networking opportunities over the course of 1 day at the Durham Convention Center. The next conference will take place in early 2019.
Food, Faith and Justice Gatherings
In November 2017, we held the first two gatherings as follow-up events to the statewide Come to the Table conference earlier in the year. The gatherings provided an opportunity for 35-40 participants to network, dive deeper into conversations on racial equity, explore possible collaborations, engage in collective problem-solving, gain practical skills and knowledge, and consult with technical assistance providers. The gatherings are tailored to the region in which the event is held. Discussions focus on how faith-based communities and food access organizations can address issues of hunger and food insecurity through a framework that employs an equity lens and acknowledges historic and present-day racism and classism in the food system.
-Deepening our understanding of how to build equity in our work
-Shifting our lens from charity to social change
-Creating opportunities for regional collaboration and peer learning
-Bringing together key stakeholders for strategic in-depth, issues-based discussion and problem-solving on a regional level
Equity at the Table Fellowship Program
The Fellowship program is designed to equip faith and community leaders who are engaged in food access work to use their passion and influence to positively impact the landscape of work at the intersection of food, faith, and justice in North Carolina. The program supports and invests in faith leaders who are passionate about equity and food access and who are engaged in projects that support these goals.
Equity at the Table Speaker Series
In early 2018, the Come to the Table program launched the Equity at the Table Speaker Series. The series is designed for people who are working at the intersection of equity and food security and for those with the desire to think more critically about equity in their work and volunteerism. The series will consist of lectures, workshops and events addressing topics relevant to our work. We invite people of faith, farmers, activists, and journalists to attend and share their perspectives.
Technical Assistance & Capacity Building
Farmers Markets & Fresh Bucks Program
In Spring 2015, RAFI-USA began working with farmers markets and roadside stands in North Carolina Tier 1 counties. Through this project, we aim to increase farm-to-consumer direct sales and the usage of SNAP/EBT at farmers markets the state. Our goal is to increase access to fruits and vegetables for SNAP/EBT recipients through the use of consumer incentive programs while also boosting revenues for farmers selling at participating markets. Participating markets include:
- Elaney Wood Heritage Farmers Market, Snow Hill, Greene County
- Market Square Farmers Market, Reidsville, Rockingham County
- Morganton Farmers Market, Morganton, Burke County
- Historic Marion Tailgate Market, Marion, McDowell County
As a form of technical assistance, we serve as fiscal sponsors for projects that are closely aligned with the program’s mission and objectives. We are pleased to serve as the fiscal sponsor of the Durham Farmers Market’s Double Bucks program, which will allow SNAP customers to receive double the amount of money they spend on tokens for purchases. We also serve as fiscal sponsor for North Carolina Community Garden Partners.
Technical Assistance & Education Stipends
We provide technical assistance with the aim of strengthening capacity. We aim to do so in collaboration and communication with partners to avoid duplication and maximize success for the projects we take on. We also provide education stipends to faith and community leaders who we engage with through the program.
Developing Resources & Publications
“Beyond Hunger Relief” Research Initiative
This question of how we can accomplish the extremely challenging business of building a more equitable food system has been the central question of our work since Come to the Table was founded in 2006.
- Beyond Hunger Relief: Research One-Pager
- Beyond Hunger Relief: Farmer Interviews
- The Impact on Farmers Selling Into Low-Income Communities: A Literature Review [PDF]
-A Guide to SNAP/EBT for North Carolina Farmers Markets
-“Farmers Markets and Faith Community Partnerships: A Guide for Market Managers”
-Case Study: Direct Mailing as a SNAP/EBT Outreach Strategy
-Case Study: Farmers’ Market Challenges in a Rural Setting
-Case Study: Farmers Market Manager Turnover