Local Food Systems

Grit City Greens? Lincoln Park project could spark economic boost

Dan Voelpel
South Sound Business

Tacoma is looking to model a community wealth and development program after the greenhouse built in Cleveland through Green City Growers. 

“Plain and simple, it works,” Ted Howard, a Clevelander, told Tacoma’s anchor institution representatives last September. Howard now serves as president and co-founder of The Democracy Collaborative, which provides research, support, and evangelism around this idea of institutions pooling their power for their communities.

Farmer Food Share

Aiming to nurture a healthier world in which all people can access nutritious food, Farmer Food Share works to remove barriers to growing and accessing local, healthy food across North Carolina.  To do so, the Durham-based nonprofit’s core programs include:  1) Donation Stations located at roughly 40 farmer’s markets across the state at which shoppers can donate food and money; 2) a Whole Market, which buys fresh produce from farms and sells it to nonprofits serving low-wealth communities, schools, groceries, and other institutions; and 3) Food Ambassadors who provide nutrition and related education to agencies and individuals.  In 2017, the nonprofit’s work was credited with supporting over 600 local farmers and providing fresh food to 92,770 people.

Durham Farmers’ Market

Operating since 1999, the Durham Farmers’ Market sells fresh produce, artisanal foods, and handcrafted wares from more than 65 vendors who live no more than 70 miles from the market.  To help ensure all area residents can access healthy, fresh food, the market accepts SNAP/EBT benefits and has a Double Bucks Program that matches SNAP transactions up to $10 (thus, SNAP recipients spending $10 can buy $20 of food).  The market also participates in the Farmer Foodshare's Donation Station Program, an effort that collects fresh food and cash (used to buy additional fresh food) from market customers and donates the food to those in need.

Bull City Cool

Opened in 2015, Bull City Cool is a shared dry storage warehouse where local farmers’ fresh food is aggregated and then distributed to those in need.  The project was catalyzed by Reinvestment Partners, a Durham-based community development corporation, to facilitate access to healthy, fresh food for hunger relief nonprofits.  To support area farmers, the Hub also conducts educational workshops.