The mission of Come to the Table is to relieve hunger and strengthen just and sustainable agriculture in rural North Carolina. We do this by engaging and mobilizing people of faith, farmers, and communities.
Our 2017 Conference At a Glance
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.
Themes of diversity, personal stories, and connection emerged from attendees’ responses to workshop and overall evaluations. Check out the full summary of the evaluations we received here.
“The fact that a room full of different people with different backgrounds can discuss something as heavy as race with kindness & grace is something I haven’t seen in a while! Thank you!”
Attendees appreciated attention to diversity in conversations and workshops, and welcomed further focus on diversity and a deeper dive into equity issues in the future. Attendees represented faith communities, food pantries, growers, farmworkers, markets, and more.
Opening & Personal Stories
“I found myself participating in a deep level of humanity. I greatly appreciated seeing that modeled & then given [an opportunity] to participate.”
Participants said the opening prayer and grounding set the tone of being attentive to themes of racial justice and equity, as well as honesty and communication. Attendees appreciated Jason Brown’s inspirational personal story and faith journey—and personal story-sharing stood out generally as an important part of the conference for people.
“Felt like a family reunion.”
Networking was often listed as a favorite part of the day. People found
opportunities to network during participatory workshops, breaks
between workshops, and over lunchtime “community conversations.” Exchanging personal narratives set the stage for networking in a professional and partnership-building context.
Goals Going Forward
“Getting more food to people who need it. We will keep our garden growing and contact those that can help harvest.” “My action step is setting up meeting with people I met in order to move forward in our planning and development.” – From Come to the Table Surveys
Attendees asked for future gatherings to have clearer descriptions and expectations for workshops, more opportunities to network both within the day of the conference and beyond, more practical tools and knowledge, and more and deeper conversations on equity issues. We will continue to work to build Come to the Table into a community of people of all religions, races, genders, abilities, and orientations.
More About the 2017 Conference
The 2017 Conference featured a keynote by former NFL player turned farmer Jason Brown of First Fruits Farm. Conference workshop tracks included:
- Building Strong Foundations—skills and core knowledge for community work and hunger relief
- Theology and Food—interfaith conversation from our community of practice on broadening our lens for food and faith
- Farmer Voices and Cooperative Development—voices from the field, stories from farmers less visible in the food system, and cooperative projects
- Getting Food to the Table—a closer look at production and process in food system: issues affecting farm workers and food workers
- Deepening Our Work—a systemic look at root causes of why people are hungry
- Express Yourself—cultural and faith practices to sustain our work: hands-on workshops with opportunities for creative expression in song, visual art, etc.
- Disaster Relief—resources, tools, and information on disaster relief
- Policy—a dual look at agricultural policy and hunger relief
Click on the buttons below for details about the conference program, workshops, and speakers:
The Duke Endowment has generously provided sustaining support to the Come to the Table Project and Conferences since 2007. We are deeply grateful for a relationship with funders who share a commitment to our mission and whom we consider partners in the work.