How Southeastern North Carolina is Building More Resilient Food Systems after COVID-19
Feast Down East is a regional nonprofit dedicated to creating a healthy, accessible local food system that supports economic growth in southeastern North Carolina. We began as The Southeastern North Carolina Food Systems Program at the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW), founded by Leslie Hossfeld and Rev. Mac Legerton, to address poverty and high job loss in the Southeastern North Carolina region—one of the three major areas of poverty in the state. Now known as Feast Down East, our nonprofit has developed a vast network of partnerships with both private and public agencies in 11 counties.
Today, three main programs make up the heart of our organization: farmer support, produce distribution, and the Local Motive Mobile Farmers Market. Each of these programs is essential to our nonprofit’s overall mission. We support local farmers by connecting them with educational opportunities and technical services through either our organization or others in our statewide network. We also work with farmers to promote local food and their products through marketing tactics and consumer education. Alongside these efforts, Feast Down East helps farmers distribute their products through our food hub, providing farmers with reduced distribution costs and added income. To encourage new farmers, we have an Emerging Farmers program, which provides classes to a cohort of new farmers to help them successfully expand their farm businesses. . . .
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