I spent last summer in the Durham Urban Innovation Center’s offices, researching the opportunities and gaps of Durham, NC’s food system. I also searched for movements across the country that demonstrated an organized, informed, and action-based effort for food system localization. With this research, I began to create a food strategy for the city.
The strategy includes possible challenges, solutions, metrics, impact, and next steps. However, what I found most striking was the number of small movements happening all around the city.
For example, we have SEEDS, an urban sanctuary with a community garden. They are dedicated to teaching and promoting a love and respect for land, food, and agriculture. One of their programs is Durham Inner-City Gardeners, which empowers Durham youth through leadership in urban farming.
Inter-faith Food Shuttle leads the anti-hunger movement in Durham through their innovative model. They recover food from businesses, run a mobile market, and provide nutrition education and training for urban agriculture and culinary jobs. They are flexible and connected. Whatever the community needs, they aim to provide it.
We even have a local food hub, called Eastern Carolina Organics. Immensely useful for a local food system, ECO links farmers with consumers and supplies important tools and storage. They support organic farmers by gathering diverse harvests and making the supply stronger and more profitable.
I could go on and on.
This is why Durham needs a Food Policy Council. Like a food hub, we could pool together our resources and energy into one strong movement.
I just made a list of possible members for a stakeholder meeting in August.
Take a look at that diversity.