Growing a sustainable and equitable local food system in Orange County, North Carolina
- Community-driven Economy: We all benefit when the health, human rights and means to thrive are the priorities that shape our local food and farm economy
- Food Access: We value nutritious, culturally appropriate food access for all
- Inclusivity: We value working with the full breadth and depth of the community and believe this work depends on mutual trust and accountability
- Racial Equity: We value disrupting racial inequity and injustice in the food system
- Sustainability: We value a food system that supports a sustainable, healthy environment in a rapidly changing climate
How We Work
- Building strategic partnerships
- Working with community stakeholders to identify issues and opportunities
- Researching and developing strategies
- Recommending policies that encourage the growth of a robust community food system and a healthier population
- Facilitating communication and collaboration across sectors
- Prioritizing systems change, social justice and racial equity
The Orange County Food Council (OCFC) is a coalition of community members working to grow a local food system that ensures health, sustainable agriculture, a thriving local food economy and access for all.
The Council’s work is in building partnerships, identifying issues, and coordinating action. This is a unique model that brings together the many interests in the local food system to identify issues and create lasting change.
The Orange County Food Council began under the close direction of community members, public health practitioners, local farmers and chefs, elected officials, and non-profit leaders who voiced their interests at community forums first held in the fall of 2014. The Food Council spent about a year in a “task force” phase from 2015 to 2016, where a group of stakeholders met to determine what a food council in Orange County would look like. The group drafted a mission statement, conducted a baseline community food assessment, brainstormed and proposed a structure, and considered what type of organization the food council could become.
The task force determined the Food Council would consist of a central group of 12-15 people, facilitating communication between work groups and coordinating resources. The workgroups were designed to advise and help lead the Food Council’s efforts and initiatives. The Food Council’s work continues to be intentionally community-driven. New members are selected through an annual open application process.
About the NC Network of Food Councils /
What is a food council?
Food councils convene community members who offer their food-related expertise, lived experiences, research, and know-how to identify issues and coordinate action.
Our partners at Community Food Strategies define a food council as organizations that, “build connections across stakeholders and collaborate to improve health, food access, natural resource protection, economic development, and production agriculture for all its community’s citizens. Using this cross-sector approach, food councils solve broad food system issues and give communities more control over the food they consume.”
Food councils are community-driven efforts that require your input, engagement, and support! Please consider joining one of the Food Council’s workgroups, applying to become a member, and/or attending one of our events.
Workgroups are the best way to get involved.
Join one of our 3 workgroups: Food Access, Local Food Economy and Food Waste Rescue. Our workgroups meet monthly to coordinate actions and cultivate communities of practice. We encourage anyone who is interested in getting involved with our food system work to attend a meeting.
Currently, the OCFC has three active community working groups that meet regularly: Food Access, Local Food Economy, and Waste Rescue. The workgroups are driven by a diverse group of community members including chefs, direct service providers, farmers, small business owners, local government, faith leaders, educators, students and researchers.
The Food Access Workgroup is a group of Orange County residents committed to ensuring that ALL have access to healthy, affordable, local food and an equal voice in the local food community. Food Access meets monthly at Rogers Road Community Center. The group alternates between the second and third Thursday of the month from 6-7:30pm. All are welcome to join these regular meetings at anytime.
The Local Food Economy Workgroup is a group of Orange County residents committed to supporting local farmers, farmworkers, and food entrepreneurs with an emphasis on building culturally diverse food businesses. Local Food Economy meets monthly in Hillsborough. The group alternates between the second and third Tuesday of the month from 5:30-7pm. Meeting locations are determined a month in advance.
The Waste Rescue Workgroup is a group of Orange County residents committed to educating and empowering the greater Triangle community to reimagine waste utilization and reduce food waste. Waste Rescue meets every third Tuesday of the month from 9-10:30 am in Hillsborough.
Our Meetings are Open to the Public.
Since the first gatherings in 2014, the opportunity for community input has continued. Our action plan and workgroup initiatives have grown out of the baseline food assessment, community forums, listening sessions, monthly workgroup meetings and community partnerships. We consider what our community needs to thrive, as well as the many food-related challenges and opportunities our region faces. At our meetings, members exchange ideas and information while connecting with leading voices in the local food scene.
Workgroup and Food Council meetings are open to the public. The Food Council meets the first Monday of every month from 4:30-6:30pm. Community members and guest are welcome to join the council’s meeting for the first hour. The Food Council’s meeting location alternates between the northern and southern parts of the County. To find out when the next Council or Workgroup meeting is, please contact our coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org