Is your congregation interested in building relationships with farmers in your community and purchasing fresh, healthy food? Are you a farmer of color looking for new markets in your area and economic relationships?
The Farm-to-Church Project connects NC churches with farmers from RAFI’s Farmers of Color Network to create sustainable food-based partnerships. These partnerships look different depending on the context, but 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). Through these farm-to-church connections, churches 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.
The Farm-to-Church Project connects farmers of color with local congregations and communities through solutions that create:
- mutually beneficial relationships for farmers that maintain or grow their power;
- sustainable relationships that have long-term financial and environmental viability, without relying on grants and loans;
- practical relationships that involve a tangible benefit to each party involved, and are logistically efficient and convenient.
Farmers Market and Faith Community Partnerships: A Guide for Market Managers – This guide is for farmers market managers, board members, and volunteers interested in fostering relationships between their market and local faith communities. Meaningful relationships between farmers markets and faith communities can connect farmers to new customers and to the community in general, while increasing access to fresh healthy food and creating a closer connection to where that food comes from. This guide includes advice, resources, and tools for market managers who want to build such relationships. To check out other offerings, please visit our Resource Library.
There are three goals of the Farm-to-Church Initiative:
- The first goal of the Farm-to-Church Initiative is to create new opportunities, markets, and long-term sustainable relationships that serve the economic, social, and political interests of farmers of color in North Carolina, especially women farmers of color, through building relationships with local congregations and faith communities.
- The second goal of the Farm-to-Church Initiative is to increase access to healthy, locally produced food, thereby improving food security for communities of color and low-income communities throughout North Carolina, by building a network of local congregations and faith communities and farmers of color through financially-sustainable relationships.
- The third goal of the Farm-to-Church Initiative is connecting congregations and faith communities throughout North Carolina with theologically-sensitive educational and practical resources in the food system.
Want to hear more about how we connect farmers and churches? Check out our Technical Assistance Spotlight!
Although there is flexibility in how churches and farmers can connect, the Farm-to-Church Project usually looks like…
- …a congregation-based local CSA, where RAFI-USA staff help facilitate and maintain relationships between a group of local churches and farmers in their area through creating a long-term purchasing agreement
- …a congregation-based farmers’ market cohort group, where RAFI-USA staff will support already established (or new!) farmers’ markets through church-based community support in advertising and logistics.
- …a congregation-based technical assistance project that involves RAFI-USA staff fielding incoming requests and ideas from local congregations regarding how they can engage in mutually-beneficial, sustainable, and practical ways of partnering with local farmers of color. Each potential technical assistance idea or relationship will be taken on a case-by-case basis, and is subject to resource and staff availability.
Interested? Fill out the church or farmer form below and we’ll contact you!
Still have questions? Please contact Jarred White, Come to the Table Program Coordinator ([email protected]) for more information.