Durham, Connecting the Dots

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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