Faith communities throughout North Carolina are committed to partnering with local farmers of color to deepen community relationships, strengthen regional food systems, support environmentally friendly agriculture, and increase access to fresh, healthy foods through Come to the Table’s Farm and Faith Partnerships Project.
The goal of the Farm and Faith Partnerships Project is to work against injustices in the food system that harm farmers of color and rural communities by creating mutually beneficial and self-sustaining economic partnerships between farmers of color and faith groups in their communities.
These partnerships look different depending on the context, but, for instance, could look like a group of churches coming together to form a food box purchasing group to purchase from a local farmer or like a church hosting a farmers market in their parking lot (perhaps in coordination with another church event like a community meal). Our goal is that through these farm and faith relationships, congregations are able to participate in the building of thriving local food systems and economies while also engaging in relational ministries with farmers in their communities.
This summer, the Come to the Table team conducted a listening tour throughout North Carolina to learn more about our partners’ food ministries, successes, challenges, and how our staff can support their continued relationships. Feedback themes included outreach and advertisement support, additional funding opportunities, and resources for CSA and partnership logistics.
Below is information about each of the existing CSAs:
The Wake County CSA is Come to the Table’s longest-running CSA. Started in Spring 2021, it is now going into its ninth season this fall. Having developed several fruitful partnerships, this CSA offers eggs, microgreens, and other value-added products in addition to produce. If you live in the Raleigh / Wake County area, check it out!
Farmers include Elke and Steve McCalla, Ken Daniel, Larry Davis, Rick Brown, Carolyn Cheek, Barbara Leach, Dwain Coleman, Dulime Saint-Jean, and Elvin and Maddline Eaton. Faith communities include Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Raleigh, Community UCC, Church of the Nativity, Pullen Memorial Baptist, West Raleigh Presbyterian, Christ the King Lutheran, St. Francis of Assisi Catholic, Good Shepherd UCC, Umstead Park UCC, and Hayes Barton UMC. In Granville County, Fairport Farms is also partnering with Oxford UMC to facilitate a local CSA in the county.
In Greene County, Jones Farm is partnering with St. James UMC and Rainbow UMC to provide weekly produce boxes for both faith community members and the wider county that support Jones Farm’s long-running community-supported agricultural project as a Black-owned family farm that has been a staple in Greene County for multiple generations.
The Durham County CSA is led by Kamal Bell of Sankofa Farms. Sankofa Farms is a multifaceted agricultural entity that seeks to assist in changing the food intake habits of those living in and affected by food deserts, and its goal is to create a sustainable food source for minorities in both rural and urban areas located in Durham and Orange Counties. Including First Presbyterian, CityWell UMC, and Immaculate Conception, this CSA is especially accessible to Durham residents.
In Beaufort County, farmer Kelton Moore and Ware’s Chapel UMC in Washington have been working to increase access to fresh food for local community members. Additionally, Kelton is partnering with Eagle’s Wings Food Pantry to provide a sustainable source of produce for local clients.
In Lee and Moore Counties, farmer Steve Moore and McQueen Chapel’s master gardener Veronica Watson continue a long-standing produce partnership in serving Sanford and surrounding areas. Watson and other lay members started a garden in 2013 to distribute healthy food boxes to local senior citizens, disabled veterans, and other marginalized community members experiencing food insecurity in their community. These boxes include produce from Moore’s Harnett County farm — S and D Farm Fresh Produce. Steve’s S and D Farm Fresh Produce is also partnering with Pinehurst UMC.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to start a new faith-based CSA or getting involved with an existing partnership, please contact Jarred White at [email protected].