2020 Community Conversations Series

RAFI-USA’s Come to the Table program presents “Spirit, Power, & Connection: Community Conversations.” The series is rooted in the belief that we must build strength together in order to have the power to build a more just food system. We believe that relationships are at the core of this work; and that the connections between us are rooted in our common human spirit.

RAFI-USA is partnering with organizations and communities of faith across North Carolina to host Community Conversations events in 2020 and beyond. Our hope for this Community Conversations series is that it will create opportunities for us to meet, learn from, and deepen our connections with each other as we work towards justice. We are hosting this series as a way to build connections between people, sectors, and ideas. We are excited to host speakers who have thought deeply on issues of justice in our food system, who are grounded in the work, and who can open a space to welcome the wisdom of everyone in the room.

All events are free and open to the public.

Past Community Conversations Events

Virtual Racial Wealth Learning Gap Simulation

Date/Time: December 1, 6-8 p.m.
Location: Virtual

The Racial Wealth Gap Learning Simulation is an interactive tool that helps people understand the connections among racial equity, hunger, poverty, and wealth. 

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Moving Beyond Thanksgiving: Farm and Faith Partnerships Project

Date/Time: November 19, 12-1 p.m.
Location: Virtual

Is your congregation interested in building relationships with farmers in your community and purchasing fresh, healthy food? Join RAFI-USA and Come to the Table to learn about our newest initiative, the Farm and Faith Partnerships Project! The Farm and Faith Partnerships Project connects NC churches with farmers from RAFI’s Farmers of Color Network to create sustainable food-based partnerships.

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Under Contract and Craig Watts: How Contract Agriculture Impacts Lives

Date/Time: November 12, 7-8 p.m.

In partnership with Farm Church in Durham, North Carolina, please join Come to the Table for a discussion of the film “Under Contract” with RAFI-USA staff member and former contract poultry grower Craig Watts.

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What Can Rural Communities and People of Faith Do to Prevent Suicide?

Date/Time: October 5-8, 7-8 pm each night
Location: Virtual

Join RAFI-USA, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention – North Carolina, Partners in Health and Wholeness, and North Carolina Agromedicine Institute for this series of events focused on the intersection of mental health, faith communities, and rural communities.

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Are You Surviving Well? Wells in the Wilderness

RAFI-USA’s Come to the Table Program and Campbell University lead a conversation on clergy mental health.

This community conversation aims to facilitate the arduous and vulnerable process of leaning into, understanding, and moving through the drought(s) of need, heaviness, and hunger that pastors are experiencing in this season.

Date/Time: Friday, October 9, 2020, 10:00 – 11:30am
Location: Virtual

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How Can We Heal Money Wounds? Clergy Respond to Fiscal Trauma

Clergy are trained to minister to others, often at the expense of the well-being of themselves and their families. In the wake of a pandemic and political turmoil, clergy are called upon the re-imagine personal and community financial well-being and to minister to the wounds created by fiscal trauma and economic inequity.

Date/Time: Wednesday, September 30, 2020, 2-3:30pm
Location: Virtual

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How Did We Get Here, and What Can I Do? Democracy, Land, and Liberation

Join RAFI-USA’s Come to the Table Program and NC 100 for an online Community Conversation on the connections between land and the historic struggle for civil rights and liberation by Black farmers, and the struggle against voter suppression today.

Speakers La’Meshia Whittington of Advance Carolina and the NC Black Alliance, Courtney Patterson of Blueprint NC, and Pastor Antonio Blow of Smith Chapel Free Will Baptist Church will share their perspective and experiences.

The event will also include small group discussions and resources to help attendees take action to support equal access to the ballot for all North Carolinians.

Date/Time: Monday, September 14, 2020, 6-8pm
Location: Virtual

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What Does Community Disaster Resilience Look Like?

Join RAFI-USA and Rural Forward NC online for a Community Conversation with Pastor Anthony Gibson and Dr. Dawn Baldwin Gibson of Peletah Ministries. As hurricane season gets underway during a pandemic, what can communities do to prepare and care for each other? Speakers and attendees will share experiences and lessons learned, with time for small group discussions.

Date/Time:  Tuesday, July 14th, 2020 6pm – 8pm
Location: Virtual

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What Are Your Pillars? Farming, Faith, and Narrative Investigation

Faith, farming, and agriculture have played a central role in the development of past social justice movements. Join us for a conversation about the Black Church’s contemporary relationship with agriculture, and how both farming and faith continue to serve as pillars of personal and collective narrative-making in our communities. Guiding our conversation will be Executive Director of Word Tabernacle’s REACH Center and Come to the Table Rural Fellow Trishonda Roberson, alongside Durham historian and activist Georie Bryant. Farmer and founder of Conetoe Family Life Center Rev. Richard Joyner will be featured as well.

Date/Time:  Wednesday, July 29, 2020 2:00pm – 3:30pm
Location: Virtual

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Under Contract and Craig Watts: What is the Human Cost of Contract Agriculture?

Join us for a screening of Under Contract and a discussion with RAFI-USA staff member and former contract poultry grower Craig Watts. In partnership with Congregational Church of Pinehurst, United Church of Christ

Date/Time:  March 12, 2020 from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Location: Congregational Church of Pinehurst, United Church of Christ, 895 Linden Road, Pinehurst, NC 28374

About Under Contract

For the first time in a full-length documentary, contract farmers tell their stories and industry experts reveal how the corporate production model pits farmer against farmer. Under Contract: Farmers and the Fine Print takes audiences on a road trip across the American South and to Southern India to understand what’s happening to farmers living under contract and what we can do to change our food system for the better. The story of the contract farmer is the story of what’s changing in rural America. Power in agriculture is changing hands, but few people know what’s happening to the farmers producing our food.

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