In 2014, RAFI formally launched the Beyond Hunger Relief program. The program exists to identify, develop and expand sustainable solutions to food insecurity that also work to strengthen just and sustainable agriculture. The Beyond Program Relief program encompasses 3 distinct areas of work:
I. The Come to the Table ProjectCreated in 2006 as a joint endeavor between RAFI and the North Carolina Council of Churches, with funding and support from the Duke Endowment, this project exists to engage and mobilize people of faith, farmers and communities. Come to the Table is best known for hosting regional conferences that convene faith leaders and laypeople, hunger relief advocates, farmers, farm-workers, school nutrition directors and others in order to find mutually beneficial solutions to food insecurity. Through this project, we also organize trainings on food access issues and provide technical assistance to faith groups starting or expanding food / hunger ministries. Learn More:
- About the Come to the Table Project
- Come to the Table Regional Conferences
- The Rural Life Committee
- CTTT Newsletter
- Blog Posts
- Press Releases
II. Beyond Hunger Relief Research InitiativeThis 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. In 2014, we launched a three year participatory research project funded by the Duke Endowment in order to study two main questions:
- What are the barriers and opportunities for farmers selling into low wealth communities?
- What are the linchpin points in the market chain where public or philanthropic investment could open sustainable, entrepreneurial food access solutions? I.e. How can we best use our resources to build a more equitable food system?
- Beyond Hunger Relief Research: Our Approach
- Blog Post: Guess What’s New at RAFI
- Beyond Hunger Relief: Research One-Pager
- Beyond Hunger Relief: Farmer Interviews
- The Impact on Farmers Selling Into Low-Income Communities: A Literature Review [PDF]
III. Connect2DirectThrough this new project, we aim to increase farm-to-consumer direct sales and the usage of SNAP/EBT at farmers markets in North Carolina. We do this through: Farm Fresh and Healthy Pilot Program In Spring 2015, RAFI-USA launched the Farm Fresh and Healthy Pilot Program with farmers markets and roadside stands in North Carolina Tier 1 counties. Our goal is to increase access to fruits and vegetables for SNAP/EBT recipients while also boosting revenues for farmers selling at participating markets. The primary strategy in this initial phase is the Fresh Bucks consumer incentive program which we are launching at each produce outlet.
- 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
- More about the Connect2Direct program
- Initiative Launched to Increase Farmers Market Sales and Local Food Access (Press Release, October 2014)