For Immediate Release
Contact: Michelle Osborne
RAFI and NC Community Garden Partners Join Forces
North Carolina’s community gardeners and food security supporters have lots to celebrate this summer. As the first bunches of homegrown tomatoes ripen on the vine, two of the state’s most effective food security organizations have announced that they are joining forces to support community gardening.
The Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI) and North Carolina Community Garden Partners (NCCGP) are launching a partnership linking the two non-profits. Under the agreement, RAFI will become NCCGP’s fiscal sponsor, making the community garden group one of RAFI’s official projects.
“This will benefit North Carolina community garden supporters and both organizations,” said Don Boekelheide, Chair of NCCGP. “By working together, we can be more effective in addressing food security and food justice.”
RAFI, based in Pittsboro, is acclaimed for its work on behalf of family farms, farm workers, and rural communities. RAFI advocates for policies and programs that support all who work in agriculture, as well as environmental stewardship, sustainability, and food security.
Come to the Table, one of RAFI’s best-known programs, works with faith communities, hunger relief advocates, and farmers to develop solutions to food insecurity that also work to strengthen just and sustainable agriculture and community economic development. Community gardens are an important part of the program’s food security efforts.
“Collaboration and connection have always been integral to Come to the Table’s work. Many of our stakeholders are community gardeners, and our new relationship with NCCGP will strengthen both of our efforts,” said Edna Rodriguez, Come to the Table’s Program Director.
NCCGP is a statewide networking group dedicated to expanding and strengthening community gardens. It hosts a website featuring garden resources and an interactive map showing more than 250 community gardens across the state. NCCGP also hosts training programs and conferences.
“Community gardens are a uniquely effective hands-on way to increase food security at the grassroots level,” Boekelheide said. “RAFI’s experience and solid record of accomplishment will help NCCGP reach more people in both rural and urban communities.”
RAFI will review and help guide NCCGP’s activities, though NCCGP will maintain its Board of Directors, organizational structure, and roster of members and volunteers. NCCGP will continue to provide its community garden map, website, and “Garden Beet” e-newsletter. The two groups hope to organize community garden training opportunities in 2017 and 2018.
To learn more about NC Community Garden Partners, visit: nccgp.org.